At-Risk, Threatened, and Endangered Species
Military installations provide important habitat for populations of federally listed and at-risk species. These species can and do impact training and testing on military installations because of Federal agency responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At-Risk species are defined as species which have been proposed for listing* by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designated as candidate species by the Service or which the Service has been petitioned to list under the ESA.
The SERPPAS At-Risk, Threatened and Endangered Species Work Group collaborates with federal, state, and other partners to develop and promote innovative strategies for conservation of at-risk and listed species and increase flexibility for addressing impacts to both military missions and listed species. These approaches include conservation agreements, mitigation credit strategies, and projects to increase status information of at-risk species to inform Service listing decisions and to support partner efforts for the overall conservation and recovery of these species.
These efforts promote and support ecosystem restoration, maintenance, and monitoring on and off military installations to enhance the conservation of at-risk and listed species; increase flexibility for on-installation training and testing; and increase regulatory predictability for military services, other federal and state agencies, and private landowners who engage in proactive conservation.
*Proposed for listing means the Service has proposed a draft rule in the Federal Register to list the species as threatened or endangered under the ESA; however, a final listing decision has not been made.
- Identify focal species and funding opportunities to promote the implementation of programs that conserve, manage, and support recovery of listed species and provide direct benefits to military installations (both on and off installations) and
- SERPPAS partners. This could include but is not limited to habitat and multi-species crediting strategies.
- Identify opportunities to proactively conserve at-risk species populations or habitat that are important to SERPPAS in a manner that would preclude the need to list a species. This could include but is not limited to Candidate Conservation Agreements, and Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances.
- Use existing geospatial information, such as the SERPPAS Good Map and SECAS layer to enhance, improve and/or make functional corridors for wildlife with an eye to climate resilience, and to enhance and support larger conservation goals and Sentinel Landscapes.
- Share lessons learned and case studies on habitat management for unique lands and habitats, such as isolated wetlands or pollinator habitat, that challenge military operations and training and/or have the potential to benefit at-risk and listed species.
Work Group Lead
Lucas Cooksey (Interim)Project Director
Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute
Lucas Cooksey is a project director for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, blending policy, planning, and practice into seamless programs that both sustain and enhance active land use alongside meaningful natural resource conservation.
With more than 20 years of experience in Natural Resources Management, his career includes appointments as a Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, serving as the U.S. Army Fort Sam Houston & U.S. Air Force Joint Base San Antonio – Natural Resource Program Manager, the Senior Natural Resource Specialist for the U.S. Army Environmental Command, and the Natural Resources Program Manager for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Headquarters, where he lead the conservation programs on over 75 Army Installations throughout the U.S and abroad.
His development of innovative projects that balance ecosystem management and military readiness have been recognized by receiving the Texas Parks & Wildlife “Lonestar Land Steward Award” in 2010 and the Secretary of the Army “Civilian Service Commendation Medal” in 2020.
Lucas attended Texas A&M University-Kingsville receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Range and Wildlife Management and then obtained a Master’s Degree in Biology from Texas State University-San Marcos.
Request to Join Work Group
The 2023 Request for Proposals for the NFWF Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund is now open. The LLSF is a public-private partnership that expands, enhances, and accelerates longleaf pine ecosystem restoration across the historical longleaf range throughout the southeastern U.S. Approximately $16.9 million in grant funding is available to projects that restore, enhance, and maintain longleaf pine on private and public lands to improve wildlife habitat and water quality, with some funding also available for bottomland hardwood restoration.Visit the SERPPAS News Archive
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Completes Gopher Tortoise Review: Eastern Portion of Species’ Range Does Not Currently Meet Criteria for Listing Under the Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached a final listing decision regarding the gopher tortoise after completing its review. USFWS has determined that the eastern population no longer meets the criteria for ESA listing and is withdrawing it as a candidate. The western population (western Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) will retain its threatened status. State protections for the gopher tortoise remain in place range-wide. Partnerships between multiple state, federal, local, and NGO stakeholders contributed greatly to the
conservation of this species.
The National Wildlife Federation is teaming up with Hoke County, North Carolina, and other partners to begin work on a ground-breaking forestry project that will benefit wildlife, forests, and the citizens of Hoke County. The Hoke Community Forest is one of two initial demonstration projects for America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative’s Longleaf for All working group that focuses on increasing minority participation in forestry-related programs.Visit the SERPPAS News Archive