The Department of Defense (DoD) has made it a priority to advance the recovery of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), preclude the need to list additional species, and improve species conservation status. By working collaboratively with partners both on and off our installations, we have engaged in numerous efforts to help achieve these goals.
DoD has been working with the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) for years to help conserve and protect listed and at-risk species. To further this partnership, DoD and DOI joined together in 2018 to form the Recovery and Sustainment Partnership (RASP) Initiative. This DoD-DOI initiative continues to support efforts to better address the dynamic between imperiled species and mission activities.
The goals of the RASP are:
- Developing innovative regulatory approaches and tools for achieving the purposes of the ESA in a manner consistent with both the USFWS and military mission needs and objectives;
- Developing collaborative conservation initiatives to enhance species conservation, advance species recovery, and preclude the need to list additional species; and
- Recognize successes while furthering the achievement of conservation goals and targets.
DoD plays a critical role in managing habitats on its installations and ranges across the country that support over 500 threatened and endangered species as well hundreds of at-risk species. The RASP supports DoD’s ongoing natural resource management and collaborative efforts to address imperiled species, important habitats, invasive species, and other key natural resources, which in turn helps avoid or minimize mission impacts while enhancing species conservation and increasing habitat connectivity. As a result of DoD’s conservation and management efforts, DOI recognized the improved conservation status of multiple ESA listed species through de- and downlistings in 2022 and 2023.