The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) new Recovery Planning and Implementation framework separates the documentation of a species’ conservation status–the Species Status Assessment (SSA)–from other components of recovery planning. This makes sense: even though the recovery objectives should change very little, we expect species status will. In turn, that may change which, or when, various recovery actions are carried out. In addition to the role of the SSA within recovery, the separation allows better integration of recovery with other aspects of Endangered Species Act implementation. For example, FWS plans for the assessments to inform section 7 consultations and for consultations to inform (update) the assessments.
When the (first of likely many versions) indigo snake SSA is complete, it will live here, parallel to the (static and publicly reviewed) recovery plan and the Recovery Implementation Strategy. We anticipate the web-based format will allow better data integration, better information sharing, and easier access, thereby making recovery more likely.