Endangered Species Recovery Planning

panel of CESA-listed species: Santa Cruz Island bush-mallow, Shasta salamander, Chinook salmon, and greater sandhill cranes


In 2018, a new state law (SB 473) gave the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) new authority to develop recovery plans for species listed under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA; Fish & G. Code, § 2079.1). In 2021, the legislature approved funding to expand protection for California’s threatened and endangered species, including the addition of four dedicated coordinators to develop recovery plans. These positions provided CDFW greatly needed support in an area that was significantly understaffed and lacked the capacity to fulfill CDFW’s mission to manage California's diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend.

The recovery plans will provide essential frameworks for the recovery of the numerous plants and animals listed under CESA. The plans will include:

  • Site-specific management actions necessary for recovery of the species
  • Objective, measurable criteria that, when achieved, will result in delisting of the species
  • Estimates of the time required and the cost to carry out those measures and to achieve intermediate steps toward recovery
  • Delisting criteria
In developing recovery plans, CDFW must give priority to species “…without regard to taxonomic classification, that are most likely to benefit from a recovery plan, particularly those species populations that are, or may be, significantly affected by anticipated land use changes, climate change, or change in aquatic conditions” (Fish & G. Code, § 2079.1(b)). 

Almost 40% of CESA-listed species are not listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and thus have no federal recovery plan upon which to rely. For some species listed under both the state and federal acts, the federal plan is outdated or not yet available. For the remainder of the CESA-listed species for which a federal recovery plan exists, CDFW now has the authority to adopt, or adopt with revisions, any federal recovery plan. Once CDFW has adopted, amended, or drafted a new recovery plan, it will go through public review and comment, including a public meeting in the recovery plan area before being approved.

CDFW is currently drafting recovery planning guidelines which will provide a framework for how CDFW will approach recovery planning for CESA-listed species. The recovery guidelines will go through a public review process pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 2079.1(g), and interested parties will be notified when they are ready for review. A link will be available below and an announcement will be made to the CESA updates listserv; to subscribe, click the Subscribe button on this page. Once the guidelines are completed and approved, a link will be posted on this page.

To contact a recovery coordinator, please email CESArecovery@wildlife.ca.gov

panel of CESA-listed species: Coachella Valley fringed toed lizard, island foxes, Trinity bristle snail, and riparian brush rabbit


Recovery Planning Guidelines

In development. Check back soon!

Draft Recovery Plans

There are currently no draft recovery plans.

Approved Recovery Plans

There are currently no approved recovery plans.