Threatened and Endangered Species
Wildlife is important to people in many ways and for many reasons, but their welfare is clearly important to us. Therefore, maintaining the diversity of Oregon’s wildlife is a major goal of state and federal government agencies and conservation organizations.To assure that our native wildlife do not disappear permanently, we – through the U.S. Congress and the Oregon Legislature,- have passed laws to protect the species at greatest risk, and created incentive programs to help landowners conserve species before they become threatened or endangered.The State of Oregon and the federal government maintain separate lists of Threatened and Endangered (T & E) species. These are species whose status indicates that they are at some degree at risk of becoming extinct. Details on how the state and federal ESA works in Oregon are included in the T & E Regulatory Framework section of the Wildlife Explorer.
Although fish, plants, and invertebrates can be threatened or endangered, the Wildlife Explorer focuses on amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. To learn more about threatened and endangered fish, visit ODFW’s recovery planning website, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/esa/index.asp. Additional information about the federal fish recovery programs in place in Oregon can be found at U.S. Fish and Wildlife-Oregon, http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/, and Northwest Region of NOAA-Fisheries,
Plant listings are handled through the Oregon Department of Agriculture (http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/CONSERVATION/index.shtml).
Species may be classified at the state level as Threatened or Endangered, and/or at the federal level as Threatened, Endangered, Proposed Threatened or Endangered, or Candidate.
Endangered wildlife species are those which are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
Threatened wildlife species are those likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future unless conservation measures are enacted.
Proposed Endangered or Threatened (PE or PT) wildlife species are those that have officially been proposed by the USFWS or NOAA Fisheries to be listed as Endangered or Threatened under the ESA or by ODFW under the OESA. State and federal agencies generally manage proposed species as if they are protected, but proposed species do not typically receive legal protection until they are officially listed.
Candidate wildlife species are those that the USFWS has sufficient information to support a proposal to list under the ESA. Candidate species have not been listed because other, higher priority species require listing first, or because resources are not available for the USFWS to list them. There are few candidate wildlife species in Oregon. Because there is so much interest in threatened and endangered species, a tremendous amount of information has been gathered about them, and there are many efforts and projects to promote their conservation in Oregon. In Oregon, information on the distribution, status, and biology of at-risk species (those at-risk of becoming extinct, including threatened and endangered species) is maintained by the Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center (ORNHIC), in addition to the state and federal agencies. ORNHIC is part of a network of Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers currently distributed throughout North and South America, coordinated by NatureServe. NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs are the leading source for information about rare and endangered species, much of which is available through the NatureServe Explorer.
Once a species becomes threatened or endangered, recovery can be biologically difficult, as well as expensive and controversial. There have are many efforts to voluntary prevent species from declining to the point of needing protection under law. The Oregon Conservation Strategy is designed to maintain healthy habitats for fish, wildlife and people, hopefully preventing and reversing species declines. There are many other valuable assessments that serve as “watch lists” for focused, preventative for focused, preventative action, including Sensitive Species, Species of Concern and State and Global Ranks.
Threatened and Endangered Programs
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Species Conservation and Recovery Programs
It is the State of Oregon’s policy "to prevent the serious depletion of any indigenous species" (ORS 496.012), and in 1987 the Oregon Legislature enacted the Oregon Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Oregon administrative rules for threatened and endangered species (OAR 635-100-0100 to 0130) are intended to help implement these policies. In accordance with these rules, species can be classified as "threatened" (any native species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout any significant part of its range within the state) or "endangered" (any native species determined to be in danger of extinction). The rules also identify general steps that may be taken to recover these species.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) maintains a list of threatened and endangered species. There are currently 36 animals on the list. The list includes 12 marine animals and 2 accidental bird species which impact ocean policy only (e.g., albatross, whales, sea turtles). The state ESA requires state agencies to develop programs for the management and protection of endangered species on state lands. For threatened species, state agencies are required to comply with survival guidelines adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Additionally, a "sensitive" species classification was created under Oregon’s Sensitive Species Rule (OAR 635-100-040) to address the need for a proactive species conservation approach. The Sensitive Species List is a non-regulatory tool that helps focus wildlife management and research activities, with the goal of preventing species from declining to the point of qualifying as "threatened" or "endangered." Sensitive species are naturally reproducing native animals which are considered at-risk in all or any significant portion of their range in Oregon.
ODFW coordinates with other state and federal agencies, tribes, and conservation groups on efforts to survey, manage and protect threatened, endangered and sensitive species. Copies of the Oregon Endangered Species Act and administrative rules, the Sensitive Species rule, and updated lists of the threatened and endangered or sensitive species are available through the ODFW website: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ or may be requested from ODFW by writing to:
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
3406 Cherry Avenue NE
Salem, OR 97303
Key program staff at ODFW includes:
Martin Nugent, Wildlife Diversity Program Manager, Wildlife Division
Peg Boulay, Sensitive Species Coordinator, Wildlife Division