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McGowan, C. P., Ryan, M.R. 2010. Arguments for Using Population Models in Incidental Take Assessments for Endangered Species. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 1: 183-188


Population models can be useful tools for evaluating management strategies and risks for a given species. A major, but
often overlooked, component of endangered or threatened species management and recovery is the incidental take
allowance of many endangered species laws. In the United States population models are seldom applied to address
specific incidental take scenarios. We believe it is prudent for wildlife management agencies like the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service to embrace explicit predictive tools to assess the possible effects of incidental take actions and to set
standards for what constitutes unacceptable levels of incidental take in terms of predicted effect on population
viability, recovery, and extinction. We briefly give recommendations for incorporating simulation models into jeopardy
evaluations in ways that would dovetail with legislative language and provide a simple example model. Using explicit
predictive models to support jeopardy determinations and incidental take decision-making would lead to transparent
decisions rooted in measurable quantities such as changes in extinction probability or abundance projections.


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November 2010


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Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 
  2. Auburn University
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute