Upstream solutions for protecting candidate species

How can we find ways to encourage people to voluntarily conserve candidate species before they are listed under the Endangered Species Act?  Candidate conservation agreements are an existing tool, and we have been helping to develop another one.  That tool differs from candidate conservation agreements in several ways.  Most important is that it involves the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issuing “credits” for conservation measures taken to benefit a candidate species before listing.  After listing, those credits would be used to offset “incidental take” to the species.  On balance, the amount of credits issued and used would need to result in a net benefit to the species, as might happen when a person buys more credits than he or she uses.

This new candidate conservation tool would benefit species in several ways.  One is by incentivizing early conservation, which generally reduces the costs and difficulty of species recovery.  Two is by incentivizing habitat management (not only preservation), which the ESA does not require of non-federal landowners and which is needed to conserve and recover many conservation-reliant species.  Three is by reducing or precluding the need to list a candidate species.

Yesterday, we, along with other conservation organizations, submitted a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service asking for their support in creating field-based projects to demonstrate the use of this new tool, which is sometimes called “pre-compliance mitigation” or “candidate conservation banking” (more memorable names are currently in development).

This post was written by:

- who has written 19 posts on dotWild.

Ya-Wei Li is the Senior Director of Endangered Species Conservation at Defenders of Wildlife.

Contact the author

Leave a Reply

dotWild is the blog of scientists and policy experts at Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.

www.defenders.org