Candidate Species Conservation Agreement

A candidate species conservation agreement (CSCA) is a voluntary agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and states, tribes, and private landowners to conserve and manage species that are not yet listed as endangered but are at risk of becoming so. CSCAs are aimed at preventing further population decline and promoting the recovery of these species.

The USFWS identifies candidate species as those that warrant listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but are awaiting listing due to higher priorities for listing or other factors. CSCAs are designed to help prevent these species from becoming listed in the future by addressing the threats to their populations and habitats.

CSCAs are a proactive approach to conservation that rely on partnerships between the USFWS and state, tribal, and private landowners. These agreements provide incentives for landowners to conserve and manage habitats for candidate species, such as technical assistance, funding opportunities, and regulatory assurances that no additional conservation measures will be required if the species becomes listed in the future.

CSCAs also provide benefits for landowners, such as increased certainty and predictability in their land management activities, reduced regulatory burden, and the potential for cost-sharing and financial assistance for conservation activities. In addition, CSCAs help to foster a cooperative relationship between landowners and the USFWS, improving communication and collaboration on conservation efforts.

The success of CSCAs depends on the voluntary participation of landowners and the effectiveness of conservation measures implemented through the agreement. If the landowner chooses to participate in a CSCA, they commit to implementing certain conservation measures on their property to benefit the candidate species. The USFWS then provides technical assistance and support for the landowner to implement the agreed-upon conservation measures.

CSCAs are an important tool for conserving species and habitats in a proactive and cooperative manner, before they become listed as endangered or threatened. By working together, the USFWS, states, tribes, and private landowners can promote the recovery of candidate species and prevent further population declines, ultimately preserving the biodiversity and ecological integrity of our natural resources.