Back from the Brink

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Back from the Brink: Success Stories Of the U.S. Endangered Species Act
Recovered Minnows Recovered Minnows

By: Location:United States Date:2015-05-06

What has recovered in the United States?

Here are a few examples to look for.

Bald eagles were taken off the U.S. endangered species list in 2007, after a variety of conservation efforts — captive breeding, reintroduction, nesting site protections, and federal restrictions on the pesticide DDT, which weakens the shells of their eggs — helped the iconic bird make a strong comeback. (Photo credit: William H. Majoros/Wikimedia Commons)

The Oregon chub (right, swimming ahead of juvenile salmon) was officially removed from the endangered list today — March 23, 2015 — becoming the first fish species to make a recovery under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The chub is a small minnow found only in Oregon's Willamette River Basin. Private land owners and federal and state agencies worked together to repair habitat and restore natural river flows so the chub could thrive in its historical habitat. (Photo credit: Jeremy Monroe/Freshwaters Illustrated via USFWS)

The Lake Erie water snake, found along the southern shores its namesake, was delisted in 2011. U.S Fish and Wildlife Service researchers determined its population had exceeded recovery goals after important habitats were permanently protected. Construction projects along the Lake Erie shoreline have also been designed to protect the snakes. (Photo credit: USFWS)

23 MAR 2015

As of today, a small minnow known as the Oregon chub becomes the 29th species to recover after being listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the first fish to ever join those ranks. The Endangered Species Act, signed into law in 1973, is widely considered one of the most important pieces of U.S. environmental legislation ever enacted and has served as blueprint for wildlife protection laws worldwide. In the 42 years since its passage, the law has played an instrumental and often-controversial role in protecting hundreds of species of animals and plants and the habitats on which they depend.

The Oregon chub’s 22-year journey to recovery showcases efforts by private landowners, conservation groups, and federal agencies to repair the fish's habitat and boost its population. Indeed, many U.S. species that have recovered could not have done so without intense cooperative efforts and creative land management approaches.

This e360 photo gallery highlights the 21 species endemic to the United States that have made recoveries strong enough to be removed from the endangered list, and the conservation strategies that helped them make their comebacks.

— Crystal Gammon 


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