The purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to provide a means by which the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species, and to take appropriate steps to achieve the
purposes of treaties and conventions set forth in the ESA.
Section 2(a)(5) of the ESA authorizes the use of Federal financial assistance to encourage the states and other interested parties to develop and maintain conservation programs to safeguard the Nation’s heritage in fish, wildlife and plants for the benefit of all citizens.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Ecological Services Program provides Federal financial assistance on a competitive basis to states, landowners, educators, non-profit organizations, researchers and other potential partners to secure information about candidate and other at-risk species to avert listing of species pursuant to the ESA, and to help conserve the ecosystems upon which these species depend.
Program Objective The principal objective of this Candidate Species Conservation funding opportunity is to accomplish conservation tasks for high priority candidate species (based on our annual Candidate Species Assessments) or other at-risk species in the United States, such that identified threats to the species may be reduced or eliminated.
These efforts are based on cooperative relationships with states, non-governmental organizations, private landowners and those interested in habitat restoration or undertaking candidate and at-risk species research, surveys and monitoring, or educational outreach efforts.
Program Priorities This opportunity will help to support the Administration’s priorities of Build Back Better framework, integrate climate change mitigation, and advance racial justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as supports America the Beautiful initiative.
Projects should show a clear conservation benefit that will help prevent listing of a candidate or at-risk species, remove identified threats and improve status, or contribute information on the species response to changes in the environment.
Priority will be given to proposals that (1) enhance partnerships with states, non-governmental organizations, private landowners, Federal agencies, and others, and (2) leverage our resources and authorities with those of our partners.
Priority will be given to projects that aid in improving the conservation status of a species to preclude the need to list.
These projects could include, but are not limited to, activities that will secure scientific information about candidate or at-risk species and their habitat, implement restoration actions that will lead to removing threats to the species, or help prevent extinction of a species.
This opportunity addresses the Presidential priority articulated in Executive Order 14008:
Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad by supporting biodiversity efforts.
Species eligible for this funding opportunity include both candidate and at-risk species.
A full list of candidate species is available through the Service’s ECOS website:
Candidate species with a Listing Priority Number of 1-6 are especially important to focus on.
Projects must include the purpose of conserving species that are candidates for ESA listing status (50 CFR 42 4. 15), included in the Service National Listing work plan, or otherwise identified as priority at-risk species.
At-risk species are those that have a reasonable potential to be considered for listing.
Listing of at-risk species can be found on the National listing work plan, state endangered species list, and/or have a state heritage rank of G1 or G2, as a few examples.
The Service has prioritized at-risk species in their national listing work plan by assigning a priority number.
The at-risk species with a priority number of 3 or 4 are especially important to work on – see https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what- we-do/listing-workplan.html for a list of species on the work plan, and see https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/listing-workplan-prioritization.html for a description of the prioritization methodology.
Funds may be provided via cooperative agreements or project grants.
Land acquisition or easement purchase is not allowed under this Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Projects for NMFS-managed species are not included in this funding opportunity.