Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 18, 2023


Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495,

10 Reasons to Celebrate Endangered Species Act on Endangered Species Day

PORTLAND, Ore.— To celebrate National Endangered Species Day tomorrow and the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act this year, the Center for Biological Diversity is highlighting 10 reasons to be grateful for the Act — one of the United States’ bedrock environmental laws. Since it was passed in 1973, the Act has saved species, secured habitats and protected entire ecosystems.

These accomplishments span the country and highlight how much this landmark law has done to protect the natural world for future generations. They include:

  1. After almost being lost to extinction, bald eagles and peregrine falcons now soar over all 50 states.
  2. Majestic old-growth forests in Washington, Oregon and California have been saved to protect spotted owls, marbled murrelets and salmon.
  3. Wolves now howl in Yellowstone National Park and beyond.
  4. More than 21 million acres have been set aside as national wildlife refuges to protect endangered species — from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.
  5. Two dams were removed on the Elwha River in Washington state, opening hundreds of miles of river for chinook and other salmon. The Edwards Dam was removed on the Kennebec River to restore Atlantic salmon, sturgeon and others.
  6. Some 2 million acres of long-leaf pine forest in the Southeast were restored to benefit red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and people, too.
  7. Beaches from Florida to North Carolina have been protected for nesting sea turtles.
  8. Ten million acres of public lands in the sagebrush sea across the Intermountain West were withdrawn from mineral leasing.
  9. Fishing for Gila and Apache trout has returned in Southwest streams.
  10. The songs of Kirtland’s and golden-cheeked warblers can still be heard in Michigan and Texas, respectively.

Learn more about the 50th anniversary of the Act, including the Center’s new report, “A Promise to the Wild,” touting its accomplishments.

“Our world is so much richer and so much wilder because of the Endangered Species Act,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “There are more birds singing, more frogs chirping, more sea turtles swimming and more wolves howling because of what the Act has accomplished over the past 50 years. It’s extraordinary.”

Despite the tremendous success of the Endangered Species Act, it’s continued to come under attack by corporate-funded Republicans in Congress. With the help of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Congressional Republicans recently voted to strip the highly endangered lesser prairie chicken of endangered species protections. They’re also considering bills to strip northern long-eared bats and grizzly bears of protection.

“Instead of trying to yank protections from clearly imperiled animals, Congress should be increasing funding for endangered species recovery,” Greenwald said. “The Endangered Species Act is our best tool for addressing the extinction crisis and it continues to save plants and wildlife from coast to coast.”

Bald eagle. Credit: © Robin Silver Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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