WASHINGTON - September 8 - A Government
Accountability Office (GAO) report released today finds that recovery plans play
an important role in the successful delisting of endangered species, reinforcing
a position Defenders of Wildlife has long taken that emphasizes the need for
comprehensive, science-based recovery strategies tailored to specific plants and
"As the GAO report shows, recovery
plans are vital tools that help biologists, stakeholders and landowners
understand what needs to be done to recover a listed species effectively,"
stated Jamie Rappaport Clark, Executive Vice President of Defenders of Wildlife.
"They outline the steps that need to be taken to halt a species decline and
provide a roadmap for species recovery. They are an essential part of our
efforts to implement the Endangered Species Act and recover endangered plants
The report, "Many Factors Affect the
Length of Time to Recover Select Species," studied the length of time it takes
to recover 31 species. It found that while recovery depends on a variety of
factors, species with a recovery plan are more likely to recover. Other factors
include the rate of reproduction, the presence of subspecies and the mitigation
of primary threats. Of the 31 species studied in the report, 19 have been
recently delisted, or are likely to be delisted within the next 25 years. The
remaining 12 are likely to remain on the endangered species list for decades
because the species are slow to reproduce, their habitat cannot be secured, or
the biologists do not know enough about the threats facing them.
"What this reportís findings do is
reinforce the need to focus efforts on improving recovery provisions in the
Endangered Species Act," stated Clark. "When recovery plans are in place,
species are better protected and more closely managed. This means they are
likely to come off the endangered species list more quickly. The report should
also encourage stakeholders and landowners to assist service biologists in the
recovery planning process knowing it works effectively."
"This report also serves as further
proof that any serious Congressional attempt to reauthorize the Endangered
Species Act needs to have species recovery guided by recovery plans," stated
Clark. "Any rewrite without this provision as its centerpiece would likely not
be as effective as it could be."