Estimating Extinction Risk and Recovery Plans
Our approach to viability analysis is to decompose sources of uncertainty and clearly connect that uncertainty to precautions in Endangered Species Act (ESA) classification decisions. While delisting charismatic species such as whales is contentious in the eye of the public, it is important to acknowledge recovery so that recovery funds can be more efficiently allocated to more severely threatened species that are often less charismatic. Our interest in developing approaches to estimate extinction risk is largely motivated by a desire to apply cutting-edge tools from conservation science to real-world decision making. We work with government agencies charged with listing and delisting decisions to ensure that such decisions rely on the best available scientific data. One highlight of this involvement with Federal Recovery Teams is the release of a Draft Recovery Plan for the endangered white abalone, which is the only marine invertebrate to be listed under the ESA (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/recovery/plans.htm). We will continue to work with recovery teams and graduate students to develop recovery strategies and recovery criteria for listed species.