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Kirtland’s warbler is one of many conservation-reliant species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This species has met recovery goals, but removing it from the protections of the ESA is problematic because of its reliance on ongoing conservation. We define conservation management agreements (CMAs) and describe how they may provide a mechanism to protect conservation-reliant species after delisting. We suggest that CMAs should include four major elements: (1) a conservation partnership capable of implementing management actions at conservation-relevant scales, (2) a conservation management plan based on the management actions in the species’ successful recovery plan, (3) sufficient financial resources to provide the required conservation management, and (4) legal enforcement. We use the efforts of the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team as a case study of the application of CMAs to build and maintain public and private partnerships to ensure continuing management for this species after delisting.


Authors: Carol I. Bocetti, Dale D. Goble & Michael Scott