Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species

Also known as TES species, this term refers to identified species of plants, animals, and other living organisms which are, to some degree, threatened by extinction.

Related resource topics for county planning include:



Map of Data

Download mxd

The ESRI mxd file of the services used to create the above map.

Resource Information

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 directs all federal agencies to work to conserve endangered and threatened species and to use their authorities to further the purposes of the ESA. Section 7 of the ESA is the mechanism by which federal agencies ensure the actions they take, including those they fund or authorize, do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species.

The Forest Service defines sensitive species as “those plant and animal species identified by a Regional Forester for which population viability is a concern, as evidenced by significant current or predicted downward trends in population numbers or density, or significant current or predicted downward trends in habitat capability that would reduce a species’ existing distribution” (Forest Service Manual [FSM] 2670).  The sensitive species list for Forest Service units in Utah is attached here.

BLM sensitive species are designated to “conserve these species and their habitats… to promote their conservation and reduce the likelihood and need for such species to be listed pursuant to the ESA” (BLM Manual 6840).  

Best Management Practices

Best management practices (BMPs) vary by species, specific habitat types, and guidance identified in the referenced management plans. The UDWR has prepared a Draft Wildlife Action Plan to provide guidance for improving habitats and strengthening wildlife populations. County-specific files have been provided with the intent of supporting the county resource management plans. These tables provide a list of species found within each county as well as denote special status species under the Endangered Species Act and if the species is part of the Wildlife Action Plan. The UDWR also maintains the Utah Conservation Data Center which contains a second list of Utah sensitive species by county.

Federally Listed and Candidate Endangered Species for the MAG region include: [1]

Summit County

  • Greater Sage-grouse (Candidate)
  • Bonytail (Listed)

Utah County

  • Clay Phacelia  (Listed)
  • Deseret Milkvetch (Listed)
  • Greater Sage-grouse (Candidate)
  • June Sucker (Listed)
  • Ute Ladies’ Tresses (Listed)
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Candidate)

Wasatch County

  • Greater Sage-grouse (Candidate)
  • Ute Ladies’ Tresses (Listed)
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Candidate)

Other management direction includes conservation plans for sage-grouse:

Economic Considerations

Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designations

The ESA prohibits consideration of economic impacts when determining whether to list a species, but it does require consideration of economic impacts when designating critical habitat. “Because of its huge impact on land use, the designation of critical habitat is one of the most controversial and heavily litigated areas of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)” [2]. In 2013 the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a final rule regarding how and when these agencies evaluate the economic impacts of critical habitat designation.

Funding for Non-game Species and the Utah Wildlife Action Plan

Species extinctions in the late 19th century and early 20th century triggered national awareness and response in the form of active wildlife management. “Many species pursued today by hunters and anglers would have been considered ‘endangered with extinction’ if that phrase had been in common use during the early 20th Century” [3]. Much of the funding for subsequent conservation successes came from hunter and angler license fees and habitat stamps and federal excise taxes on shooting, boating, and fishing equipment. These sources may indirectly benefit some “non-game” species, but in general funding is harder to come by for these species.

“In 1997, as part of the state water tax, the Utah Legislature created the Endangered Species Mitigation Fund (ESMF) which significantly expanded the funding base for conservation of wildlife species which are designated as Utah Sensitive Species or are ESA-listed. The purpose of this fund is to avoid, reduce, and/or mitigate impacts of ESA listings on the people of Utah” [3].

“The Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 created the federal State Wildlife Grants program (SWG), which enables Congressional appropriators to consider funding wildlife and habitat conservation on a year-to-year basis. This law requires that each state have a current, approved Wildlife Action Plan to remain eligible for any SWG funding that Congress appropriates to the federal program. States that choose to participate in the SWG program must review and revise their Wildlife Action Plans at least once every 10 years, if they want to maintain their eligibility.” Utah’s initial Wildlife Action Plan was completed and approved in 2005, and there is currently a 2015 draft available [3]. Utah’s Wildlife Action Plan is supposed to “leverage public and private sector support in species and habitat conservation to sustain Utah’s economic viability and quality of life for present and future citizens.”

Impact Considerations

A species loss from an ecosystem may change the ecosystem’s processes and result in unknown impacts to other species and humans. Other considerations include the potential impacts to landowners where threatened and endangered species occur.  These might include restrictions on the types of allowed land uses to protect species habitat, or impacts caused by reintroduced species expanding beyond the extent of intended range.

Data Download
  GIS Data Map Service Web Map Document  Tabular Data  Website
Data NameData ExplanationPublication DateSpatial AccuracyContact
Aggregated Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species Occurrences by 24k Quad
Provides list of known TES within each USGS 24k quadrangle.11/20151:24,000Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Greater Sage Grouse Occupied Leks
Known, active, occupied Greater sage-grouse leks.20151:5,000Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Individual species Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species Occurrences
Use to generally locate Utah's federally and state listed threatened, endangered, and sensitive animal and plant species. Occurrences are aggregated to USGS 24k quadrangles. Species are displayed as individual layers.08/08/20141:24,000Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Sage Grouse Management Areas
Location of sage grouse management areas that encompass the highest breeding density areas20151:5,000Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
USFWS Proposed and Final Critical Habitat
Displays specific geographic areas that contains features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management and protection.2016UnspecifiedU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online System
Western Governors’ Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool
Ranked hexagons of crucial habitat areas to help with greater certainty and predictability in planning efforts
1 = highest quality habitat
6 = lowest quality habitat
12/2013640 acre hexagonsUtah Division of Wildlife Resourcesand
Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies CHAT


  1. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Department of Natural Resources. 2016. Utah Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species Occurrences. Spatial data accessed September 20, 2016.
  2. Petersen, Rafe. 2013. Government Issues Final Rule on Economic Impact Analysis for Endangered Species Act Habitat Designations; Incremental Approach Could Spark land Use Controversies.  Accessed September 22, 2016.
  3. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. 2015. Utah Wildlife Action Plan, Draft Version 6-4-2015.