The Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to ensure their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of threatened or endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their habitat.
For compliance with the Endangered Species Act, the effects of applied practices on listed species and their habitats must be assessed. This requires an awareness of what species are protected, their location, and their habitat requirements.
The following definitions are used in Federal and State Agencies classification for identification of plant and animal species of concern:
Endangered: Taxa in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
Threatened: Taxa likely to be classified as Endangered with the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
Candidate (Category 1 within Idaho): Taxa for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently has substantial information on hand to support the biological appropriateness of proposing to list as Endangered or Threatened.
Sensitive (Forest Service): Taxa that are identified by the Regional Forester for which viability is a concern, as evidenced by significant current or predicted downward trends in population numbers or density, or significant current or predicted downward trends in habitat capability that would reduce a species' existing distribution.
Sensitive (Bureau of Land Management): Sensitive species are those designed by the State Director, usually in cooperation with the state agencies responsible for managing the species as sensitive. They are those species:
- that are under status review by USFWS; or
- whose numbers are declining so rapidly that federal listing may become necessary; or
- having typically small and widely dispersed populations; or
- inhabiting ecological refugia or other specialized or unique habitats.
Protected Nongame Species (Idaho Fish and Game): No person shall take or possess those species of wildlife classified as Protected Nongame Species or Threatened or Endangered Wildlife at any time or in any manner, except as provided in Sections 36-106 (e) 5 and 36-1107, Idaho Code, or by Commission regulation.
Species of Special Concern (Idaho Fish and Game): Native species which are either low in numbers, limited in distribution, or have suffered significant habitat losses. The list includes three categories of species:
- Species which meet one or more of the criteria above and for which Idaho presently contains or formerly constituted a significant portion of their range,
- Species which meet one or more of the criteria above but whose populations in Idaho are on the edge of a breeding range that falls largely outside the state, and
- Species that may be rate in the state but or which there is little information on their population status, distribution and/or habitat requirements.
These online resources provide listing information for Idaho's threatened and endangered species:
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program with access to the current national species database.
- Idaho Fish and Game and The Idaho Conservation Data Center's list of publications concerning Special Status Plants
These information sources can assist land users in locating and identifying plant and animal species which require special consideration. Some sources have GIS coverage which will allow manipulation of the data base to provide specific information such as known species per county. Caution is required when using the information sources as they list mostly known locations of species. Attention to habitat identification is critical as species may be wide range outside of known locations. The majority of private lands have not had surveys to identify the occurrence of threatened, endangered sensitive or species of concern.
Federal agency policies require a determination of impact if any action may affect a listed species or its habitat. If the action is likely to have adverse impact, agencies will advise the landowner of the requirements of the ESA and recommend alternative conservation treatment.
Continuation of a proposed action may occur if consultation of assisting agencies such as Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fishery Service is initiated through channels. Use of these sources is intended to provide information as to location, habitat identification and species potentially present to allow land users to select Best Management Practices (BMPs) to suited protect species.