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Endangered and ESA Candidate Species in Oregon

The Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973.The ESA helps to stabilize populations of species at risk of extinction. A primary focus of the ESA is to conserve the habitats upon which threatened and endangered species depend. Additionally, local land use planning can be used to protect wildlife habitat and improve species populations. Local jurisdictions should always consider the impact to listed species and their habitats when implementing new land use rules. More information on the ESA and strategies to restore listed species population is available from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service.

While there are several ESA listed species in Oregon, not all face significant impact from development activities authorized by local land use permits.


DLCD is part of a coordination program, called the Sage-Grouse Conservation (SageCon) Partnership. SageCon is comprised of local, state, and federal partners who work to preserve sage-grouse habitat and increase the sage-grouse populations in Oregon. To prevent the bird from being listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), SageCon created an action plan, data, and tools to support the implementation of the Oregon Sage-Grouse Action Plan.

In 2015, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) adopted administrative rules for implementing Goal 5 for sage-grouse (OAR 660-023-0115), otherwise known as the "Sage-Grouse Rule." The rule defines significant sage-grouse habitat and identifies land uses that conflict with sage-grouse mating and rearing. It directs counties to review applications for development permits using avoidance and mitigation criteria. The rule also sets a limit on the amount of core habitat that can be lost due to new development.

The Sage-Grouse Rule directed DLCD to create a registry to track human development that occurs over time in the sage-grouse habitat to ensure that the limit is not reached. The department maintains two online sage-grouse tools: a public viewer and a development registry. The viewer allows the public to see the amount and location of new development that has been permitted within sage-grouse habitat areas. The development registry is for local governments and state agencies to submit development projects to DLCD so that the amount of development occurring in core sage-grouse habitat can be monitored over time.

Sage-Grouse Development Registry Viewer

The Sage Grouse Rule (OAR 660-023-0115) also directs the agency to create an annual report for the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). The report must provide information on the amount of new development that occurs each year within the priority areas for conservation. Here are the two most recent annual reports presented to LCDC.

Learn more about these tools and the SageCon partnership.A sage grouse in eastern Oregon.

Salmon, Steelhead and Bull Trout

Several species of fish are listed as threatened under the ESA. Fish need clean, cold water and places to hide from predators. Land use practices that protect riparian areas, wetlands, and floodplains reduce the impact of development on fish habitat. Measures to reduce and mitigate stormwater also serve to keep our watersheds healthy where fish can live and reproduce.

Floodplains and channel migration zones are recognized primarily as hazardous areas that warrant management strategies to minimize impacts to people, structures and infrastructure. They are also important components of stream systems and fish habitat.

  • Learn more about channel migration zones in Oregon.

Fender's Blue Butterfly and Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly

Fender's Blue Butterfly and Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly are two Willamette Valley species listed as threatened under the ESA. They are dependent on prairie and oak savanna habitat, including several ESA listed plant species. For an example of a local government working with US Department of Fish and Wildlife and ODFW to enable development while protecting and enhancing habitat for these species, see Benton County's Habitat Conservation Plan and Prairie Conservation Strategy.


Jon Jinings
Community Services Specialist
Phone: 541-325-6928

Amanda Punton
Coastal Water Quality and Natural Resource Specialist
Phone: 971-718-3245