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Action Timeline

April 21, 2004 – A Center report showed that systematic delays in the endangered species listing program contributed to the extinction of least 83 species between 1974 and 1999.

May 2004 – In the largest listing effort in the history of the Endangered Species Act, the Center petitioned the Bush administration to place 225 plants and animals on the endangered species list. Seventy-nine percent of the species covered in the petition had been on the candidate waiting list for at least 10 years.

May 16, 2005 The Fish and Wildlife Service released its annual candidate notice of review. The review designated 286 species as candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act but argued that protection was precluded by other actions to protect species.

November 8, 2005 – The Center, as part of a coalition of conservation groups, filed suit against the Bush administration for delaying the protection of 283 species by allowing them to remain on the candidate waiting list.

August 3, 2006 – In an email obtained by the Center, then-Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall stated that the agency would actively work to avoid providing protection for 152 of the 281 candidate species.

September 12, 2006 – The Service issued an annual candidate notice of review that recognized 279 species as candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

December 6, 2007 –   The Fish and Wildlife Service’s annual candidate list review included 280 species. Most of the listed species had been on the waiting list for protection for at least 10 years.

February 29, 2008 – The director of the Fish and Wildlife Service promised that the agency would make decisions on whether to protect 92 candidate species within the following two years. The 92 species were considered to be the most imperiled of the 280 on the government’s official candidate list.

October 2008 – In response to our 2004 petition and subsequent lawsuit, then-Interior Secretary Kempthorne issued a proposal to protect 31 Hawaiian candidate species.

December 9, 2008 – The Bush administration issued a final notice of review that identified 251 species as candidates for protection. The review demonstrated that virtually no progress toward removing species from the candidate list had been made since 2001, when the list numbered 249 species.

November 6, 2009 – The Obama administration’s first annual candidate review identified a total of 249 animals and plants in need of protection. The review also showed that, to date, the administration had only listed two new species.

March 10, 2010 – In response to the Center’s petition and lawsuits, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the listing of 48 species from the island of Kauai, with designation of critical habitat. Thirty-one of the species had been on the candidate list, in many cases for more than 20 years.

June 23, 2010 – The Service protected two species of Hawaiian damselfly — both of which were candidate species — as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The damselflies had been waiting 26 years for protection.

October 6, 2010 – The Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to protect the Altamaha spinymussel, which had been on the candidate list for 26 years.

May 17, 2011 – In response to opposition by the Center, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan stayed approval of a controversial settlement agreement on 251 candidates between WildEarth Guardians and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until June 20 and ordered all parties, including the Center, back into mediation.

October 25, 2011 – Due to our historic settlement forcing the Service to move forward on protection for 757 species, the Obama administration issued a new “candidate notice of review” identifying 244 plants and animals that need the protections of the Endangered Species Act to avoid extinction. 

February 13, 2012 – Following our settlement, the Fish and Wildlife Service protected two colorfully named mussel species, the snuffbox and rayed bean, under the Endangered Species Act. The mussels, found in eastern states from Alabama up to Canada, are hurt by water pollution and have been waiting decades for federal protection.

November 20, 2012 – For the first time since 1996, the number of plants and animals waiting for federal protection dropped below 200, highlighting the success of a landmark agreement reached with the Center requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to speed protection decisions for 757 species.

Photo © Darrell Senneke, World Chelonian Trust