ESA Biological Status Reviews

The Endangered Species Act requires that we make listing determinations on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial information about a species. We form a biological review team (BRT), composed of scientists with diverse backgrounds, to conduct a status review. The resulting document is a comprehensive scientific review and analysis of the biological condition of a species being considered for listing under the ESA, or being considered for a change in its status under that law.

We convene the BRT to examine the biological conditions of the species, including current population, population trends, reasons for any population declines or improvements, factors that may put the species at risk, and a range of other factual aspects of a population’s condition. The team also looks at whether the population is eligible for consideration under the ESA, looking at such factors as genetic diversity, geographic isolation, and the degree of interbreeding with similar populations.

The biological review team’s status review makes a recommendation to the regional administrator about whether the population is eligible for listing, and if so, if it needs ESA protection. ESA listing determinations must also take into consideration those efforts being made to protect the species. We must consider a range of factors in addition to the BRT’s recommendation before making a final listing determination.

The Northwest Fisheries Science Center prepares status reviews for the Northwest Region.