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Endangered Species Act 5-year Reviews

How Species Are Listed | 5-Year Reviews | Policies & Guidance | Listed Species


Marine and Anadromous Fishes

Pacific Salmonids 2016 5-Year Reviews

Marine Mammals

Marine Plants

Sea Turtles

(joint with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Guidance and Templates

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) developed the 5-Year Review Guidance [pdf] [3.9 MB] to promote a consistent nationwide approach to 5-year reviews and to clarify the scope and role of these reviews in relationship to other requirements under the ESA.

The 5-year review can be as straightforward as gathering current information on a species and determining whether recovery criteria in the recovery plan have been met. For species without recovery plans or with recovery criteria that do not meet all of the current requirements of the ESA, a 5-year review entails analyzing information available on the species relative to the definitions of endangered and threatened and in the context of the five listing factors.

The guidance provides templates that may be used for conducting a 5-year review:

All status reviews of species may serve as 5-year reviews, regardless of whether or not the template is used.


The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) requires completion of periodic reviews of species that are listed as threatened or endangered to ensure that the listing of these species remains accurate.

Specifically, section 4(c)(2) of the ESA states that the Secretary shall:

  1. conduct, at least once every five years, a review of all species included in a list..., and
  2. determine on the basis of such review whether any such species should
    1. be removed from such list;
    2. be changed in status from an endangered species to a threatened species; or
    3. be changed in status from a threatened species to an endangered species.

The reviews called for in this section of the ESA are known as "5-Year Reviews."

Updated: September 2017