Summary Over the last two decades, recovery plans have emerged as one of the most widespread policy and management responses for endangered species. Often these plans include public and private lands, and the associated government departments and private landholders. Toolibin Lake, in the West Australian (WA) wheatbelt, is a case in point, with a recovery plan focused on an internationally recognized wetland on public land within a predominantly privately owned, agricultural catchment. This paper draws on recent questionnaire and interview-based research with landholders, to evaluate the influence of the recovery plan on conservation activities. Almost all landholders in the Catchment (93%) are involved in revegetation activities, with the availability of subsidies from the WA Government playing a strong role in adoption and its extent. The main constraints to adopting conservation actions, such as revegetation and fencing remnant vegetation, were cost and logistics. Correspondingly, the greatest incentive was financial inducement. Strengths of the recovery plan were identified as increasing awareness, demonstrating government effectiveness, and making funding available to landholders. The communication efforts by the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), the agency leading the recovery process, were lauded while at the same time the need for improved liaison was noted. Weaknesses were the lack of information and direction from CALM, bureaucracy, limited funding for CALM, and variable adoption across the Catchment. Recovery planning in this Catchment and other similar settings could be improved by a continuing commitment to two-way communication between all those involved, ongoing recognition of the complexities of the government–community interface in recovery planning, and continuing subsidies for conservation actions on private lands where high biodiversity values are at stake.