Safe Harbor Agreements

A Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) is a voluntary agreement involving private or other non-Federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agreement is between cooperating non-Federal property owners and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for most listed marine and anadromous fish species.

In exchange for actions that contribute to the recovery of listed species on non- Federal lands, participating property owners receive formal assurances from the Service that if they fulfill the conditions of the SHA, the Service will not require any additional or different management activities by the participants without their consent. In addition, at the end of the agreement period, participants may return the enrolled property to the baseline conditions that existed at the beginning of the SHA.

Find answers to frequently asked questions regarding safe harbor agreements.

For some examples of Safe Harbor agreements in action, download the Working Together: Tools for Helping Imperiled Wildlife on Private Lands brochure.  [1.8MB]

Contact Safe Harbor Agreements

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

National Service


Service Area

National service provider

Office Locaters

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator
Related Success Stories for Safe Harbor Agreements

Enlisting Private Landowners and the Army for Endangered Species
Safe Harbor Agreements and compatible use buffers used on and off Army bases contribute to recovery of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.