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ESA Biennial Report to Congress

Overview | Recovery Plans | Report to Congress | Guidance

Success Stories of the Endangered Species Act

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2012-2014 Biennial Report

The ESA amendments of 1988 added a requirement that the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior report to congress every 2 years on the status of efforts to develop and implement recovery plans, and on the status of all species for which recovery plans have been developed (section 4(f)(3)). This is the 13th Report to Congress on the status of the recovery program for these species. 

This report summarizes the efforts to recover all domestic species under NMFS' jurisdiction from October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2014. It includes a summary table(table 1) outlining the status of each species the Secretary has found would benefit from having a recovery plan, the status of the recovery plan, and the date the last 5-year review was completed.

With this report, NMFS is embarking on a strategic approach to endangered species recovery that focuses agency resources on species for which immediate, targeted efforts are needed to stabilize their populations and prevent extinction. This report highlights the recovery stories of the eight at-risk species(Species in the Spotlight) we’ve identified as most needing our attention. They are listed as:

They are notable because the best available information points to their extinction in the near future because of rapid population decline or habitat destruction. These are the species for which focused efforts are needed to mobilize human intervention to stabilize their population declines and prevent their extinction.

During the 2 years covered in this report (October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2014), the number of listed species under NMFS jurisdiction increased 27 percent. We now manage over 86 domestic species of salmon, sturgeon, sawfish, seagrass, mollusks, sea turtles, corals, and marine mammals, and 34 foreign species. In this report, we address the 86 domestic species managed by NMFS, including 17 newly listed domestic species:


Between October 1, 2012, and September 30, 2014, of the 86 domestic listed species, 45 had final recovery plans, one had a draft recovery plan, 16 plans were in development, and 24 had no plans. Because we have many multispecies plans, as well as multiple plans for one species (marine turtles), the number of plans does not directly correspond with the number of species. The status of the 86 domestic endangered or threatened species listed under the ESA between October 1, 2012, and September 30, 2014 was:

These percentages reflect a 10 percent reduction in the number of species that were determined to be declining in the 2010-2012 Biennial Report (from 23% to 13%), and reflect an increase of about 15 percent for species with unknown population trends (from 30% to 44%), some of which represent newly listed species. A list of the domestic species managed by NMFS and for which recovery plans have been found to benefit such species or a finding was not made during this biennial reporting period (84 species) is provided in Table 1. The table lists the status of each species/ESU/DPS(unknown, decreasing, mixed, stable, or increasing), the recovery priority number2, the status of the recovery plan, and the date the last 5-year review was completed. 

Additional information on these species is available online at Recovery plans are available online at

Partnerships for Recovery

Recovery of threatened and endangered species is a complex and challenging process, but one which also offers long-term benefits to the health of our environment and our communities.

Actions to achieve a species' recovery may require:

Many of these actions also help to provide communities with healthier ecosystems, cleaner water, and greater opportunities for recreation, both now and in future generations.

Recovery actions discussed in this report are funded and implemented by many partners--Federal, state, tribal, non-profit, and private. Partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, including private citizens, federal, state and local agencies, tribes, interested organizations, and industry, are critical to achieving species recovery goals.

NOAA programs that directly fund recovery actions include:

*This is total funding for the Species Recovery Grants Program

The Species Recovery Grant Program, authorized under section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, provides grant funding to partnering state agencies to support management, outreach, research, and monitoring projects that have direct conservation benefits for listed species.

NOAA Fisheries began the Species Recovery Grants to Tribes program in FY 2010 to support tribally led recovery efforts that directly benefit listed species.

The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) was established by Congress in FY 2000 to protect, restore, and conserve Pacific salmon and steelhead populations and their habitats.

Projects funded through these programs often address priority actions identified in recovery plans and thus make important contributions to the recovery of listed species.

Want to get involved? Contact your local NOAA Fisheries regional office, state wildlife agency, or tribal wildlife agency to find out how you can help participate in recovery efforts for local endangered species.

Read the full report [pdf] [2.7 MB]


For a hard copy of a report, please contact us.

More Information

Updated: June 3, 2015