Cooperative Endangered Speices Conservation Fund

The Cooperative Endangered Speices Conservation Fund (Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act) is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and provides funding for two distinct land acquisition programs.

HCP Land Acquisition Grants
In the early 1980's, the FWS responded to protracted Endangered Species Act (ESA) conflicts, by working with local communities and landowners to establish a partnership-oriented approach to species conservation. As a result, the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) process was developed. Under the HCP, landowners and local and state governments agree to establish habitat preserves (through acquisition and/or dedication) in exchange for the release of limited habitat lands for development.

Since then, the FWS has approved more than 430 HCP's, with more under negotiation. Approved HCP's range from single-owner accords to sweeping county-wide, multi-species plans. Under Section 6 of the ESA, states participating in these HCP's are eligible for federal assistance in land acquisition projects that complement these agreements.

In 1997, the FWS launched the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program to provide grants to states and counties explicitly for land acquisitions that complement approved habitat conservation plans. These grants are available only for purchases that exceed  conservation responsibilities nonfederal partners bear under terms of the HCP. Projects must also have nonfederal partners willing to provide at least a 25 percent match and manage the habitat. HCP Land Acquisition Grants are awarded on a nationally-competitive basis. 

Recovery Land Acquisition Grants
The Recovery Land Acquisition (RLA) Grants Program was created in response to the escalating interest shown by states and landowners in managing their lands in ways that benefit threatened and endangered species and their habitat. The program provides funds to states for acquisition of habitat for federally-listed endangered and threatened species in support of approved species recovery plans.

These funds must contribute to the implementation of an approved recovery plan for at least one threatened or endangered species. Acquiring habitat in order to secure long term protection is often the critical element in a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.

For more information on either of these programs, please visit the Service's Endangered Species Program page.