Applications illustrating how traditional PDF recovery plans can be updated for dynamic content on the web.
The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to develop plans that guide the recovery of threatened and endangered species. All recovery plans to-date have been written and published on paper (or as PDFs), and have been rarely – if ever – updated. As of October 2016, half of all recovery plans are 19 years old or older. These out-of-date, non-interactive plans limit recovery and limit our (collective) ability to integrate other regulatory aspects of the ESA, such as section 7 consultation, with recovery. FWS and NMFS recognize the need to update how recovery planning is done.
Defenders of Wildlife has been developing a variety of alternative approaches and platforms to modernize recovery plans. Visit the “landing page” for our early prototype plans, which are based on the green sea turtle recovery plan. We have also written a brief analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of these different dynamic recovery plan types.
As of late 2017, the dynamic recovery plan project continues to progress. We are working with the National Marine Fisheries Service to translate their recently completed recovery plan for the Cook Inlet beluga whale to a web-based format. The Department of Defense has funded a project to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a dynamic recovery plan for the indigo snake as part of the plan revision. We will provide updates–and links to these and related projects–as they become available.