Species Status Assessments

Species Status Assessments (SSAs) are an important tool used by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for listing decisions. They have the potential to make the listing process less onerous, more efficient, and sounder—both biologically and legally. For these reasons, I have made myself available at a national level to work with the teams planning SSA training and writing SSA guidance. I believe I have expertise to offer and I hope that they choose to take advantage of it.

Regionally, I offer editing services to help polish the most significant SSAs for current and future listing decisions. I can edit SSAs for any or all of the following:

(1) Ensure the Executive Summary allows simple, rapid creation of Federal Register notices by including all of the following:

  • a very short species description including status and threats
  • a broad assessment of the three Rs—resiliency, representation, and redundancy
  • a short statement of the species’ needs—breeding, feeding, and shelter
  • an overview of the species’ requirements—individual, population, and range-wide
  • a broad overview of the species’ current condition, along with any historical factors, both natural and anthropogenic
  • a brief analysis of the species’ future short- and long-term outlook
  • a summary of our uncertainties
  • a short assessment of the species’ viability

(2) Ensure the Introduction identifies the species’ legal status and summarizes the SSA team’s analytical process.

(3) Ensure the document is organized in a way that moves naturally from the individual species to the population to the habitat in a way that demonstrates the integration between all at each stage.

(4) Ensure that throughout the document, assessments about likely past occurrences resulting in the species’ current status and limits of information are integrated in ways that are clear and logical.

(5) Ensure that paragraphs and sentences are clearly constructed.

(6) Ensure the document is free from grammatical and mechanical errors.

(7) Ensure the document conforms to the guidelines established by the Government Printing Office Style Manual and the Council of Science Editors’ Scientific Style and Format, 8th ed.

L. Michelle BakerDo you have SSAs that are languishing, withering on the vine, or delaying significant decisions? I can help. Schedule a free consultation with me TODAY to learn more.


Michelle Baker, PhD
The Conservation Writing Pro
~Communication, the key to conservation~
304 283 4573