State Wildlife Action Plans by yal18555

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									State Wildlife Action Plans
Working together to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered
Leaders in Wildlife Conservation Applaud
Wildlife Action Plans

We are proud to announce a historic milestone in wildlife
conservation: the creation of 56 wildlife action plans, one for each
state and territory. The wildlife action plans collectively form a
nationwide strategy to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

Our nation’s wildlife agencies collaborated with a remarkable list of
partners to address the challenges to wildlife, identifying ways to
conserve the lands and waters that are essential to both wildlife and
people. The action plans differ from state to state, reflecting each
state’s unique natural resources and conservation needs. All are based
on the solid success record of state wildlife agencies in restoring
habitats, managing wildlife and working with local conservation
groups and private landowners to find solutions for wildlife. The action
plans are firmly grounded in science, and they also balance differing
interests in how we use the lands and waters that are essential to
wildlife. The result? Practical action plans that will work in every state.

Our nation has a long history of success in conserving wildlife. Over
the last century, we have brought some of our most treasured wildlife
back from the brink of extinction. Today, the challenges to keeping
wildlife from becoming endangered are greater than ever before. By
taking the next critical step toward implementing the wildlife action
plans, we will be closer to meeting our goal of preventing wildlife
from becoming endangered. There is a role for everyone to implement
the wildlife action plans, whether it is managing land, conserving
species, or providing funding opportunities. Join us now to ensure our
nation’s children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy wildlife and
the places they live.

John Cooper, President
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

H. Dale Hall, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Wildlife Action Plans: A Bold New Direction for Conservation                                                  4

A New Era for America’s Wildlife                                                                              6
American Wildlife Conservation: Rising to Challenges in Times
of Need                                                                                                       6
The Unfinished Legacy                                                                                          7
Teaming with Wildlife: A National Coalition                                                                   7      Red Cockaded Woodpecker insert
                                                                                                                     installation/AL DWFF

New Federal Funds for Wildlife Conservation                                                                   7
Wildlife Action Plans: A Strategic Approach to Wildlife Conservation                                          8
Eight Elements of Conservation Success                                                                        8

Charting the Course                                                                                          10
Flexible, Innovative Conservation Strategies                                                                 10
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Leads National Effort                                              10
Working Together: Reaching out to Stakeholders and Citizens                                                  10
Building on Existing Conservation Plans                                                                      12
Focusing on Wildlife in Greatest Need of Conservation                                                        13      Collared Lizard/Christine Clinger, NV DOW

Identifying Habitat for Wildlife                                                                             14
Identifying Challenges to Wildlife and their Habitats                                                        16
Targeting Action at Key Challenges                                                                           18

Measuring Success                                                                                            22
Adaptive Management: Learning by Doing                                                                       23
Working Together                                                                                             23

Taking Action                                                                                                25
                                                                                                                     Weighing a bobcat/IADNR
Carrying on the Legacy: A Call to Action                                                                     29

State Agency Contacts                                                                                       30

The document was funded in part by grants from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs
and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional support was provided by the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The document was written by Deborah Richie Oberbillig ( with support from Ghost-
writers Communications, Inc. ( Dave Chadwick, Kate Haley, Rachel Brittin, and Sean
Robertson from Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies edited the document. Rocky Beach, Chris Burkett, Naomi
Edelson, Jim Greer, Genevieve LaRouche, Jon Kart, and Ron Regan commented on earlier versions.                       Milkweed survey/Missouri Department of
Graphic design of the document and state summaries was provided by MajaDesign, Inc. (majadesign@adelphia.
net). Based on this design, Rachel Brittin, Rebecca Brooke, and Sean Robertson from Association of Fish and
Wildlife Agencies laid-out the state summaries. Cover photo: Black Skimmers by Bruce Reid. Line art provided by

                                                                                    Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered                3
                                                                    Executive Summary
                                                   Wildlife Action Plans: A Bold New Direction for Conservation

                                                he wildlife action plans repre-    closely through the Association of Fish
                                                sent a collective vision for the   and Wildlife Agencies and the U.S. Fish
                                                future of conservation. For        and Wildlife Service on the development
                                                the first time, states have had     of the wildlife action plans. By combining
                                      the opportunity to assess the full range     the best scientific information available
                                      of challenges and actions that are vital     with extensive public participation, states
                                                          to keeping wildlife      developed effective action plans that will
                                                          from becoming            work for wildlife and for people.
                                                                                   The wildlife action plans focus on practi-
                                                         The impetus for the       cal, proactive measures to conserve and
                                                         historic planning         restore important lands and waters, curb
                                                         effort comes from the     establishment of invasive species and
                                                         Teaming with Wildlife     address other pressing conservation
                                                         coalition, represent-     needs. The tools for conservation em-
                                                         ing more than 3,500       ployed in the action plans emphasize
                                                         agencies, conservation    incentives, partnerships and collabora-
                                                         groups, and businesses    tive management, rather than top-down
                                                         who for more than a       regulations. The action plans also stress
                                                         decade have tirelessly    the importance of gaining the knowledge
                                                         championed the cause      necessary to effectively conserve a broad
                                                         for funding to keep       range of wildlife species. In addition, ev-
                                                         wildlife from becom-      ery state wildlife action plan incorporates
                                                         ing endangered. The       continued monitoring and evaluation in
                                                         coalition’s work led to   order to measure the success of the
                                                         passage of the Wild-      proposed actions in conserving wildlife.
                                                         life Conservation and
       Bald eagle/USFWS, Dave Menke
                                                         Restoration Program       Taken as a whole, the wildlife action
                                      and the State Wildlife Grants Program in     plans present a national action agenda for
    “The state wildlife
                                      2000. As a requirement of these pro-         the conservation of wildlife species that is
     action plans are                 grams, Congress asked each state wildlife    focused on those that have not benefited
     setting the stage                agency to develop a “comprehensive           from conservation attention due to lack of
      for a bold and                  wildlife conservation strategy”—a wildlife   dedicated funding. The results are already
      ambitious new                   action plan—that evaluates wildlife con-     apparent in improved relationships at all
                                      servation needs and outlines the neces-      levels—across public and private owner-
       direction for
                                      sary action steps.                           ships, across state boundaries, and in the
     conservation of                                                               growing list of new groups and individu-
       species and                    While the wildlife action plans share a      als working together for wildlife. Taking
         habitats.”                   common framework of the eight required       the timely next steps to adequately fund
       – Ron Regan, Wildlife          elements, they are tailored to reflect        these wildlife action plans is crucial in
      Director, Vermont Fish          each state’s unique wildlife, habitat,       order to achieve the goal of preventing
     and Wildlife Department          and conservation needs. States worked        wildlife from becoming endangered.
     and Chair, Association of
    Fish and Wildlife Agencies,
       Teaming With Wildlife

4   State Wildlife Action Plans
       Wildlife At The Crossroads—The Need For Action
        Today, we stand at a crossroads for wildlife that defines America the Beautiful. Across the planet, one in
        three amphibian species is waning. In the U.S., amphibian declines are particularly serious in California,
        the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest and Puerto Rico. More than one-quarter of all bird species in the U.S.
        have dropped in numbers since the 1970s, and more than 200 of 800 native bird species are listed on the
        Audubon WatchList, which serves as an early warning system for birds that could become endangered.

        From densely populated states like New Hampshire to the big sky country of Montana, and from the coasts
        of Florida to California, conserving high quality habitat, restoring degraded lands and waters, and removing
        invasive species are among the top priorities for conservation.

        We are clearly at a crossroads, and we have a choice. We can wait for wildlife to decline and react to
        problems with expensive, last-ditch recovery efforts, or we can act now to prevent wildlife from becoming
        endangered. Taken together, the wildlife action plans represent the right decision to take action before
        wildlife recovery becomes costly and controversial. Working together, we can take proactive and
        cost-effective steps to conserve wildlife before it is too late.

Riparian restoration in Oregon/Bruce Campbell

                                                                   Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered   5
         “It is clear that
      our agencies have             A New Era for America’s Wildlife
        taken this effort

          well beyond                        he state wildlife action plans     Herds of bison, antelope and elk on the
      anyone’s expecta-                      represent a new era for Ameri-     open plains almost vanished, white-tailed
       tions. The agency                     ca’s wildlife. The collective      deer fell to one or two percent of their
                                             feat of com-                                            original numbers,
    biologists, planners,
                                   pleting the action plans                                          flocks of wild turkey
    and managers, with             took more than three                                              were scarce, and lakes
      considerable help            years and required                                                once abundant with
     from our conserva-            massive mobilization,                                             waterfowl fell silent.
     tion partners, have           cooperation and effort.
                                   If we take a closer look                                                  Sportsmen and
    crafted conservation
                                   at how these plans                                                        women, conservation-
      plans that identify          were developed, we                                                        ists and game wardens
        priority actions           see the value both in                                                     rallied. Thanks to their
        to conserve our            the completed action                          Riparian planting/Idaho DFG unceasing efforts,

    nation’s wildlife and          plans and in the process that yielded        Congress responded with a key piece of
       key habitats. This          new effective partnerships.                  legislation in 1937, the Wildlife Restora-
                                                                                tion Act (also known as the Pittman-Rob-
      tremendous effort                                                         ertson Act). The Act established a user fee
       has illuminated a           American Wildlife
                                                                                in the form of an excise tax on hunting
      national need that           Conservation: Rising to                      equipment to conserve game species
       calls for securing          Challenges in Times of Need                  and assure conservation of their habitats.
        additional fund-                                                        A similar act passed in 1950, the Sport
                                   In America, wildlife is considered a pub-    Fish Restoration Act (also known as the
     ing and exemplifies
                                   lic trust held by the government for the     Dingell-Johnson Act), which extended
     our leadership role           benefit of the common good. This funda-       the user fee to fishing gear with a focus
     in North American             mental idea dates back to the American       on restoring fisheries. Additional fund-
         conservation.”            Revolution and the establishment of our      ing for fisheries restoration was provided
      –Ed Parker, Chief, Bureau    nation’s democratic ideals. State wildlife   with the enactment of the Wallop-Breaux
       of Natural Resources,       agencies have the responsibility to assure   Amendments in 1984.
      Connecticut Department       that wildlife remain healthy and to pro-
          of Environmental         vide people with plentiful places to enjoy   The state wildlife agencies used the fees
     Protection; member of the     wildlife, whether it is watching animals,    generated from these programs effec-
    National Advisory Acceptance   hunting, or fishing.                          tively. In combination with regulated
       Team; Vice-President of                                                  hunting and fishing harvests, the agencies
      the Association Fish and     As our nation has grown, America’s wild-     worked with partners to conserve impor-
          Wildlife Agencies        life agencies have adapted and expanded      tant habitats, and they transplanted game
                                   their efforts in the face of new, unprec-    species to help restore populations. The
                                   edented conservation challenges. Time        return of the white-tailed deer, striped
                                   and again, when faced with new conser-       bass and wild turkey are a tribute to the
                                   vation challenges, wildlife agencies have    wildlife agencies, sportsmen and women,
                                   worked together with sportsmen and           conservationists, and the outdoor industry
                                   women and other conservationists to craft    who all worked together.
                                   bold, landmark conservation programs.
                                                                                Half a century later, Congress responded
                                   The beginning of the twentieth century       to another time of wildlife crisis with the
                                   marked a pivotal point for wildlife. Until   passage in 1973 of the Endangered Spe-
                                   then, few regulations protected wildlife.    cies Act. By providing emergency protec-

6   State Wildlife Action Plans
tions for wildlife in immediate danger of       than 3,500 organizations and agencies,
extinction, the Endangered Species Act          including bird watchers, hunters and
helped prevent species from disappearing        anglers and other recreational users,
forever. Nearly every state also enacted        conservationists, professional biologists,
state programs to formally identify and         wildlife managers, and nature-related
protect critically imperiled species.           businesses.
This combined effort has resulted in the
successful recovery of many treasured
species such as the bald eagle and              New Federal Funds for
peregrine falcon.                               Wildlife Conservation

The Unfinished Legacy                            In response to the efforts of the Team-
                                                ing with Wildlife initiative, Congress
The tremendously successful programs            enacted two new programs in 2000, the
of the 20th century were focused on             Wildlife Conservation and Restoration
species that were hunted and fished or           Program and the State Wildlife Grants
formally identified as “endangered”.             Program. Both programs provide fund-
While these programs have achieved              ing to state wildlife agencies for on-the-
remarkable successes, the approximately         ground conservation projects and wildlife
85 percent of our wildlife that are not         conservation planning aimed at prevent-
considered “game” or “endangered” have          ing wildlife from becoming endangered,
lacked adequate conservation attention.         and both are administered by the U.S.
Consequently, many are declining. This          Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service
includes thousands of species of birds,         distributes funds to states based on each
mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and          state’s population and land area. Federal
invertebrates. Lacking the resources to         funds allocated under both programs
conserve these remaining species, our           must be matched by funding from state
nation’s wildlife agencies have been con-       or other non-federal sources. Although
strained in their ability to realize
fully their conservation mission to
conserve all wildlife resources.
                                        The   State-Federal Wildlife Conservation Partnership
                                      Wildlife conservation in the United States is a partnership between
Teaming with Wildlife:                the states and the federal government. While state wildlife agencies
A National Coalition                  have the primary responsibility for managing wildlife, the federal
                                      government plays a crucial role in helping conserve migratory
In the early 1990s, a coalition of    species, managing national wildlife refuges and other federal lands,
wildlife agencies and conserva-       and providing funding for wildlife conservation. The state wildlife
tion organizations launched the       agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have a long history
Teaming with Wildlife initiative      of working closely together to jointly support the national interest in
to expand the funding base for        wildlife conservation. Federal funds for state-level wildlife conserva-
wildlife conservation to include      tion are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including
species that are not “game”           the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, State Wildlife Grants,
or “threatened” or “endangered”       Endangered Species programs, and the Landowner Incentive Program.
in order to allow state wildlife
agencies to take a more com-
prehensive approach to conser-                  the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration
vation. The initiative informs members          Program was authorized as a permanent
of Congress and other decision-mak-             program, funding was only provided
ers about the importance of this work           for the first year. Nonetheless, federal
and the need for funding. Over time,            funding has continued to flow to the
the initiative has grown to include more        State Wildlife Grants Program. Over the

                                                                   Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered   7
                                    last five years, these two programs have    Eight Elements of
      “The strategies               provided more than $400 million in new
     are large-scale,               money for wildlife conservation, funds
                                                                               Conservation Success
    efficient, effective             that have been matched with over $200
                                                                               Congress required states to address eight
                                    million from the states. These programs
       and will give                                                           core elements in the wildlife action plans.
                                    have become the federal government’s
       taxpayers the                primary vehicles designed to prevent
                                                                               The states first identified the condition of
       biggest bang                 wildlife from becoming endangered.
                                                                               wildlife in terms of wildlife distribution,
      for the buck.”                                                           abundance, locations, and conditions
      – Amelia Orton-Palmer,
                                                                               of habitats. Next, they analyzed those
                                    Wildlife Action Plans:                     findings and identified knowledge gaps
      Biologist, U.S. Fish and
    Wildlife Service’s lead staff   A Strategic Approach to                    and problems in order to specify actions
                                                                               needed to address conservation needs.
       person on the wildlife       Wildlife Conservation                      Then they developed monitoring plans
        action plans in the
     Mountain-Prairies Region
                                                                               to ensure the conservation of species
                                    As a condition for receiving the new
                                                                               and habitats and the effectiveness of the
                                    federal funds from the Wildlife Con-
                                                                               actions. During development and imple-
                                    servation and Restoration Program and
                                                                               mentation of the plans, the states made
                                    State Wildlife Grants Program, Congress
                                                                               great efforts to coordinate with conserva-
                                    charged the state wildlife agencies with
                                                                               tion partners, including federal, state, and
                                    preparing a strategic assessment and
                                                                               local agencies, Indian tribes, and the
                                    action plan for wildlife, known tech-
                                    nically as a “compre-
                                    hensive wildlife
                                    conservation strategy.”
                                    The states were
                                    required to submit
                                    these action plans to
                                    the U.S. Fish and
                                    Wildlife Service for
                                    review by October
                                    1, 2005.

     The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National
     Advisory Acceptance Team
     The Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
     established the National Advisory Acceptance Team
     to review each of the wildlife action plans. Reflecting
     the collaborative spirit that characterized the entire
     process, this team was composed of assistant regional                                          Karner blue butterfly/J&K Hollingsworth

     directors from each of the eight U.S. Fish and Wildlife                   public in order to secure expertise and
     Service regions and five state wildlife agency directors.                  opinions. The states included a schedule
     The group held week-long meetings once a month to                         of plan review to make sure it would be
     review the state action plans, with in-depth regional                     regularly updated. These statewide plans
     reviews taking place between meetings. The team                           use all available information to outline
     carefully scrutinized every wildlife action plan to make                  the most pressing conservation needs in
     sure that all eight required elements were addressed                      each state.
     fully and then made a final recommendation of
     approval to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director.

8   State Wildlife Action Plans
Eight Required Elements of Wildlife Action Plans
Congress asked states to address eight elements in order to conserve all wildlife, with a
focus on wildlife of greatest conservation need:

(1) Information on the distribution and abundance of wildlife, including low and
    declining populations, that describes the diversity and health of the state’s wildlife.
(2) Descriptions of locations and relative conditions of habitats essential to species in
    need of conservation.
(3) Descriptions of problems that may adversely affect species or their habitats, and
    priority research and survey efforts.
(4) Descriptions of conservation actions proposed to conserve the identified species
    and habitats.
(5) Plans for monitoring species and habitats, and plans for monitoring the effective-
    ness of the conservation actions and for adapting these conservation actions to
    respond to new information.
(6) Descriptions of procedures to review the plan at intervals not to exceed 10 years.
(7) Coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and Indian tribes in developing
    and implementing the wildlife action plan.
(8) Broad public participation in developing and implementing the wildlife action

(Fiscal Year 2001 Commerce, Justice, State and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,
Public Law 106–553, codified at U.S. Code 16 (2000) 669(c)).

     “The action plans
     collectively form the
     building blocks of a
     national strategy for the
     United States to conserve
     wildlife diversity.”
     – Nancy Gloman, Assistant Regional
     Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service

 Freshwater mussel survey/Beth Swartz

                                                                    Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered   9
        “We collectively
          are trying to                                        Charting the Course
        construct a new
         comprehensive             Flexible, Innovative                          and created a working group of state
          vision for the                                                         agency personnel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                                   Conservation Strategies
      future of conserva-                                                        Service staff, other agency partners, and
                                                                                 conservation groups. The working group
       tion in our states.         State wildlife action plans needed to
                                                                                 recommended starting points on issues
       Make no mistake,            meet the eight required elements in order
                                                                                 such as defining wildlife of greatest
        this is uncharted          to receive State Wildlife Grant funding,
                                                                                 conservation need, identifying and
                                   but, ultimately, the opportunity was for
       territory, so there                                                       assessing habitats, and public involve-
                                   states to accomplish the larger goal of
      is no blueprint, no          comprehensive conservation in order
                                                                                 ment and outreach.
     off-the-shelf recipe,         to prevent wildlife from becoming
                                                                                 The Association’s semi-annual meetings
      no one size fits all.         endangered. Congress and the U.S. Fish
                                                                                 and working group meetings provided a
     Each state may learn          and Wildlife Service gave states
                                                                                 forum for states to share ideas with each
     facets of its strategy        considerable flexibility in developing
                                                                                 other, and to keep the wildlife action
                                   strategies that fit each state’s unique
     from the others, but          wildlife resources, management context,
                                                                                 plans on track for completion. In 2003,
     each state is unique                                                        the Association and the U.S. Fish and
                                   and local issues. The intent was to give
                                                                                 Wildlife Service sponsored workshops
          in its needs.”           states the flexibility to reach the goal of
                                                                                 in four regions of the country for agency
        – Dr. Jeffrey Koenings,    keeping wildlife from becoming
                                                                                 personnel and partner organizations to
      Director of the Washington   endangered in a way that works for
                                                                                 review key planning tasks, brainstorm
         Department of Fish        wildlife and for the people in each state.
                                                                                 ideas, and test out approaches. In 2004,
              and Wildlife
                                                                                 one year before the action plans were
                                   Wildlife agencies worked together to
                                                                                 due, the Association hosted a national
                                   share information and priorities across ju-
                                                                                 “One Year Out” conference where
                                   risdictions. The states also gathered ideas
                                                                                 participants from almost every state and
                                                and suggestions from federal
                                                                                 territory shared ideas and discussed the
                                                agencies and conservation
                                                                                 merits of different planning approaches.
                                                groups, drawing on many dif-
                                                                                 The conference proved an ideal forum
                                                ferent models and approaches
                                                                                 for discussing both cutting edge conser-
                                                to develop new and innova-
                                                                                 vation planning theories and practical
                                                tive planning approaches.
                                                                                 experience in on-the-ground wildlife
                                                                                 management. Throughout the entire plan-
                                               Association of Fish               ning process, the Association organized
                                                                                 smaller meetings, conference calls, and
                                               and Wildlife                      workshops as new topics arose, maintain-
                                               Agencies Leads                    ing an ongoing dialogue across the states
                                                                                 and building an active network among
                                               National Effort                   the people writing the plans.
                                                The Association of Fish and
                                                Wildlife Agencies played a       Working Together:
                                                pivotal role in convening        Reaching Out to
                                                states to help them develop
                                                high quality action plans that   Stakeholders and Citizens
      Bighorn capture/Utah DWR
                                   would guide wildlife conservation in the
                                   states. Working through the Association,      The state wildlife action plans stand out
                                   the state wildlife agencies outlined guid-    from many prior conservation plans be-
                                   ing principles for the planning process       cause of the broad participation and open

10   State Wildlife Action Plans
  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ mission is to serve as the voice of fish and wildlife
  agencies by helping to foster a deep appreciation and understanding for the public management
  and conservation of the fish, wildlife, and natural communities that represent the diversity of
  North America.

  In 1902, eight wildlife managers from six states met in Yellowstone National Park on behalf of the
  country’s beleaguered fish and wildlife populations. They realized that the nation’s rich fish and wildlife legacy
  would survive only with careful planning and vigilance. And they stood together—one voice for fish and wildlife.

  Today, more than 100 years since their first meeting, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies includes all 56
  states and territories, and the federal agencies of the United States. The Association also represents many provinces
  of Canada and Mexico. Its core functions are inter-agency coordination, legal services, international affairs,
  conservation and management programs, and legislation. Over the last century, the Association has provided the
  forum for achieving most of our nation’s landmark fish and wildlife successes—including the Pitman-Robertson,
  Dingell-Johnson, and Wallop-Breaux Acts.

process. This was not just a technical ex-   The range of effective ways employed to              “Never tell people
ercise carried out by a few scientists and   involve people in the development of the
                                                                                                  how to do things.
planners. Thousands of people contrib-       wildlife action plans can serve as models
uted to the action plans, with input and     for future conservation efforts. In devel-           Tell them what to
advice coming from federal, state and        oping the wildlife action plans, many                  do and they will
local government agencies, bird watch-       state agencies tried to break free from               surprise you with
ers, hunters, anglers, private landowners,   traditional “public comment periods”                   their ingenuity.”
conservation groups, local industries, and   and routine public meetings to find new                – George Patton, General,
many other members of the community.         ways to engage resource users and the                    United States Army
The extensive involvement of stakehold-      general public in the wildlife action plan
ers and the general public demonstrated      discussion. Working together led to new
a widespread enthusiasm for actions to       relationships, fostered greater trust and
conserve wildlife and habitats. When it      encouraged creative problem solving.
comes to caring about wildlife, there is     Across the country, people contributed
plenty of common ground.                     time and energy to action plans that they
                                             now can claim as their own. Many of the
Public participation and stakeholder         individuals and groups are taking the next
coordination were requirements of the        step toward carrying out the action plans
wildlife action plan process laid out by     as partners in wildlife conservation.
Congress. The state wildlife agencies saw
beyond this requirement and focused          In Action: Nebraska’s Natural Legacy
instead on their long-standing role to       Project Partnership Team
serve both wildlife and people. By
working with stakeholder groups and the      The Nebraska Game and Parks Commis-
general public, state wildlife agencies      sion recognized early on the importance
could translate pressing conservation        of including a diverse array of stakehold-
needs into practical, consensus-based        ers in their state’s action plan, known
actions. The wildlife action plans are       as the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project.
firmly grounded in science, and they          Wildlife agencies and some stakehold-
successfully balance differing interests     ers, such as private landowners, have
when considering how we use the lands        had conflicts in the past over endangered
and waters that are home to wildlife.        species and federal regulations that

                                                                Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered   11
                                    might impede farming and ranching. The       Building on Existing
                                    state agency created the Natural Legacy
                                    Project Partnership Team to involve
                                                                                 Conservation Plans
                                    stakeholders in the public participation
                                                                                 The wildlife action plans built upon
                                    process. The members became trained
                                                                                 decades of conservation experience
                                    facilitators and hosted 16 public meet-
                                                                                 and a sizeable volume of prior plans for
                                    ings that generated positive discussions
                                                                                 individual species, habitats, and land-
                                    among private landowners and conserva-
                                                                                 scapes. Rather than attempt to duplicate
                                    tion groups.
                                                                                 or replace prior conservation planning
                                                                                 efforts, developing the wildlife action
                                    The stakeholders who served on the Part-
                                                                                 plans gave the states the opportunity to
                                    nership Team remain active in carrying
                                                                                 take a new look at them and to synthe-
                                    out the action plan’s recommendations.
                                                                                 size what they collectively meant for pre-
                                    Groups as diverse as The Nature Con-
                                                                                 venting wildlife from becoming endan-
                                                 servancy, Pheasants Forever,
                                                                                 gered. By drawing together the ideas from
                                                 the Nebraska Cattlemen, and
                                                                                 these other sources, the wildlife action
                                                 Audubon Nebraska have tak-
                                                                                 plans began with a strong foundation.
                                                 en an active role in putting
                                                 the action plan to practice
                                                                                 In Action: Building on Florida’s
                                                 by working with landowners
                                                                                 Existing Efforts
                                                 and implementing much-
                                                 needed prairie restoration
                                                                                 The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conserva-
                                                 projects that benefit people
                                                                                 tion Commission is a leader in conduct-
                                                 and wildlife.
                                                                                 ing species assessments and adopting
                                                                                 systematic, landscape-based designs to
                                                In Action: Taking New Jersey’s
                                                                                 protect connections among important
                                                Action Plan to Stakeholders
                                                                                 habitats and maintain important natural
                                                and the General Public
                                                                                 processes. Florida incorporated two of
                                                                                 the most significant conservation plan-
                                                In New Jersey, the Division of
                                                                                 ning efforts for statewide wildlife diversity
                                                Fish and Wildlife first worked
                                                                                 in its wildlife action plan. The Florida Fish
                                                internally to create a draft
                                                                                 and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s
                                                that was reviewed by
                                                                                 report, Closing the Gaps in Florida’s
                                                conservation leaders. Then,
                                                                                 Wildlife Habitat Conservation System,
                                                the Division of Fish and
                                                                                 identified the minimum amount of land
                                                Wildlife and New Jersey
                                                                                 in Florida that, if conserved, would
                                                Future, an independent
                                                                                 ensure the long-term persistence of most
                                                foundation, co-hosted a
                                                                                 elements of Florida’s wildlife diversity.
                                                “Wildlife Summit” that
                                                                                 The University of Florida’s Ecological
     Bobcat/New Jersey DEP                      drew more than 150 people
                                                                                 Network Project identified a statewide
                                    representing a spectrum of agencies,
                                                                                 system of landscape hubs and conserva-
                                    watershed associations, planning
                                                                                 tion corridors to conserve critical ele-
                                    councils, conservation organizations,
                                                                                 ments of Florida’s native ecosystems and
                                    and sportsmen’s groups and foundations,
                                                                                 maintain connectivity among ecological
                                    who engaged in lively discussion on nine
                                                                                 systems and processes. These resources
                                    key conservation topics. Their comments
                                                                                 were used as building blocks to create
                                    provided invaluable guidance to shaping
                                                                                 new and innovative conservation efforts
                                    the final wildlife action plan.
                                                                                 in Florida’s wildlife action plan.

12    State Wildlife Action Plans
A Strong Foundation of Prior Planning

In developing the wildlife action plans, state wildlife agencies drew on a sizeable volume of data
sources and prior plans for individual species, habitats, and landscapes. Plans consulted by wildlife
agencies ranged from:

•   Existing Wildlife and Fish Management Plans
•   State Heritage Programs/Conservation Data Centers
•   Audubon Important Bird Areas
•   Regional Species At Risk Conservation Plans
•   Endangered Species Recovery Plans
•   Existing Wildlife Diversity Strategic Plans
•   Partners in Flight Bird Conservation Plans
•   The Nature Conservancy’s Ecoregional Assessments
•   North American Waterbird Conservation Plan
•   US Shorebird Conservation Plan
•   Bat Conservation Plans
•   Ducks Unlimited Conservation Plans
    Regional Marine Fisheries Commission Management Plans

                                                                                                                                                Egrets at sunset/USFWS

•   GAP Analysis Programs
•   State Natural Areas Assessments
•   State and Regional Growth Management Plans
•   State Outdoor Recreation Plans
•   National Wetlands Inventory
•   Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Management Guidelines

     Focusing on Wildlife in                       States used a variety of information
                                                   sources to identify target species, includ-
     Greatest Need of                              ing natural heritage programs and other
     Conservation                                  wildlife occurrence databases, data from
                                                   other planning efforts and assessments,
     The wildlife action plans are building a      and input from agency biolo-
     new approach to conservation by looking       gists, academics, and other
     beyond wildlife that is formally listed as    scientific experts. While the
     “endangered” or managed as a traditional      selection process included
     game species. Congress asked states           species under state-level
     to assess the health of a “full array” of     programs and formal
     wildlife with particular attention to the     protection of the federal
     wildlife species that have low or declin-     Endangered Species Act,
     ing populations and are “indicative of the    the effort placed a major
     diversity and health of wildlife” of each     emphasis on identifying a
     state. Most of the wildlife action plans      broader set of species of
     refer to these targeted species as “species   concern that would include
     of greatest conservation need.” In iden-      at-risk species not yet iden-
     tifying these species, the intent was not     tified by other conservation
     to define a new “official” status like the      efforts. States identified                           Little Fishing Creek freshwater mussel
                                                                                                                  distribution survey/NCWRC
     Endangered Species list. Instead, the goal    wildlife of greatest conservation need
     was to identify the wildlife species that     based on a variety of criteria: if a spe-
     need proactive attention in order to avoid    cies had low populations, or had already
     additional formal protections.                been formally identified as a conservation

                                                                      Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered                                      13
                                        priority, or showed other signs of              In Action: Identifying North Dakota’s
        “North Dakota’s                 imminent decline, it was flagged for             Species of Greatest Conservation Need
     wildlife action plan               attention. Some states, such as Montana,
      does a good job of                Alabama and Virginia, opted for a tiered        The North Dakota wildlife action plan
         highlighting the               approach, prioritizing their state’s            identifies 100 species in need of conser-
                                        wildlife of concern in two or more              vation including birds, mammals, reptiles,
      important systems,
                                        levels of concern or priority.                  amphibians, fish and freshwater mussels.
        like native grass-                                                              The list was developed with expert input
     lands and wetlands,                Because each state developed a different        ranging from federal and state agency
       that are critical to             approach, the wildlife identified as             staff to non-governmental organizations,
     maintaining healthy                species of conservation need vary               tribes and private citizens. The species
                                        significantly. For example, the South            were initially categorized by degrees of
        populations of a
                                        Carolina action plan identifies more than        rarity, geographic range, and breeding
       myriad of species                1,200 species in need of conservation,          status of species. However, fewer
          of wildlife for               while the North Dakota wildlife action          categories more accurately represented
      future generations                plan identifies 100. There are also              the level of knowledge of a broad
     of North Dakotans.                 differences that reflect special state-based     range of species and facilitated those
                                        considerations, such as including marine        species being placed in order of priority.
        I am hopeful this
                                        wildlife in coastal regions or urban            Several species included on the list are
       plan will generate               wildlife in heavily populated areas.            considered common in North Dakota,
        a diverse suite of                                                              or, at least, not declining. These species
       partners who can                 In Action: Identifying South Carolina’s         were included because of the state’s
       focus their efforts              Species of Greatest Conservation Need           importance as a last stronghold for that
                                                                                        particular population, or because of their
     on protecting these
                                        The South Carolina action plan identifies        contribution to species diversity in North
     critical components                more than 1,200 species in need of              Dakota. North Dakota has a long-term
       of North Dakota’s                conservation. South Carolina formed             stewardship role for these species, even
       natural heritage.”               groups of experts on birds, mammals,            if there is no immediate need for conser-
          – Scott Stevens, Ducks        reptiles, amphibians, fish, and inverte-         vation there. For example, the American
           Unlimited, Bismarck,         brates who shared knowledge to help             white pelican is found in great numbers
                North Dakota            build a list of wildlife meeting criteria       in North Dakota, but is designated as
                                        for conservation. The species on the list       vulnerable, imperiled, or critically
                                        include species that are rare or at-risk,       imperiled in 27 states and provinces.
                                        those about which scientists have in-
                                                      sufficient knowledge, and          Identifying Habitat
                                                      those that have not received
                                                      adequate conservation             for Wildlife
                                                      attention in the past.
                                                      The list also includes             As a critical first step in conserving wild-
                                                      “responsibility” and              life, scientists must identify the lands and
                                                      “indicator” species. The          waters that species need in order to sur-
                                                      Carolina pygmy sunfish             vive. Identifying, locating, and describing
                                                      appears on the list as a re-      habitat for wildlife is complex. Biologists
                                                      sponsibility species because      must look at an animal’s habitat needs
                                                      the fish exists almost entirely    for each day, season, and over the course
     Oystercatcher/South Carolina DNR                 in this state. If it disappears   of their lives. For example, long-eared
                                        here, it will likely become extinct. Fid-       owls nest and roost in woody draws, but
                                        dler crabs are an indicator species of the      they forage in grasslands and thus require
                                        health of aquatic systems. Crabs accumu-        both kinds of habitats. What do marine
                                        late toxins and serve as a warning sign for     mammals need for food, for resting, for
                                        the health of aquatic systems.                  breeding areas and seasonal needs? How
                                                                                        about fish like salmon that spawn in

14    State Wildlife Action Plans
   streams and swim to the sea? Or eels that                                   In Action: Defining Essential Habitats
   do the opposite, spawning in oceans and                                     for Virginia’s Imperiled Wildlife                      “It comes down to
   swimming up rivers?                                                                                                               habitats. You cannot
                                                                               To identify both aquatic and terrestrial               build conservation
   Habitats are interdependent and each                                        habitats for the wildlife action plan,                 species by species.
   will affect and be affected by others,                                      Virginia created the Habitat Affinity Da-
                                                                                                                                      The task is too big.
   especially those geographically adjacent                                    tabase, which matches species with their
   to each other. Additionally, most species                                   required habitat features. Using these                    Habitat is the
   move freely across habitats and are de-                                     relationships, the habitats for each of the             common ground
   pendent upon a diversity of resources for                                   most imperiled species were mapped                     for biologists, land
   life. The concept within the action plans                                   where possible. This process involved                 managers, agencies
   is that by taking actions that sustain the                                  an exhaustive review of the literature,
                                                                                                                                       and the public to
   health and integrity of the habitats, the                                   coordination with experts, and min-
   broad array of wildlife that lives within                                   ing of species observation databases to                 work together to
   each will be conserved and maintained.                                      identify essential habitat and to define                conserve wildlife.”
                                                                               distributions. Then the necessary spatial                – Dennis Figg, Wildlife
   While many of our great wildlife restora-                                   data were assembled to create maps of                     Programs Supervisor,
   tion efforts have restored one species at a                                 where these habitats occur within each                    Missouri Department
   time, today it is not practical or effective                                species’ known range in Virginia. Spatial                   of Conservation
   to take a species-by-species approach                                       data included a series of terrestrial habitat
   as our country experiences widespread                                       factors such as land cover, distance from
   loss and fragmentation of natural land-                                     water, and topography. The aquatic habi-
   scapes. In many of the wildlife action                                      tat classification grouped streams into
   plans, states used a habitat or ecoregion                                   different classes depending on the region
   approach to arrange wildlife species into                                   in which they are located, their size,
   meaningful and manageable groups.                                           the geology underlying the stream, the
   These groups were typically identified by                                    elevation of the stream, and the stream’s
   large-scale vegetation or geographical as-                                  biological community. These processes
   sociations across each state for terrestrial,                               involved the use of sophisticated
   freshwater and marine ecosystems.                                           Geographic Information Systems soft-
                                                                               ware and techniques.

Tennessee River Watershed mussels/VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

                                                                                                   Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered   15
                                           In Action: Identifying Priority Habitats      why wildlife are at risk, we can decide
        “For the first time,                for Mississippi’s Wildlife                    on action steps that will effectively and
         Illinois has a road                                                             efficiently prevent them from becoming
           map for where                   Mississippi approached its habitat classifi-   endangered.
        wildlife and habitat               cation based on different planning needs
                                           in their wildlife action plan. They used      A wide variety of factors contribute to the
        conservation wants
                                           the Bailey/US Forest Service Ecological       decline of wildlife. The lands and wa-
          to go! That is an                Units as modified in 1998 by The Nature        ters that provide habitat for wildlife can
           incredible tool                 Conservancy for larger scale planning         be destroyed, fragmented, or altered by
          that anyone and                  efforts. These ecoregions are widely ac-      development, roads, and resource extrac-
         everyone can find                  cepted within the ecological community        tion. The elimination of natural cycles like
                                           and have a close association with other       fire and flooding can also change habitats
           a piece to take
                                           planning efforts such as the Partners in      and reduce their value for wildlife. Non-
         ownership of, and                 Flight regional plans. In order to associ-    native, invasive plants and animals can
          do the work that                 ate species of greatest conservation need     compete with native species for habitat
          will make a real                 with their habitats, Mississippi combined     and food. Contaminants can degrade the
             difference.”                  the Ecological Communities List from the      quality of habitat and directly harm ani-
        – Jeff Walk, author of Illinois’   state Natural Heritage Program into a list    mals. Human actions can directly disturb
             Wildlife Action Plan,         of core habitat types and subtypes. The       or injure animals, both intentionally and
            Illinois Department of         habitat types and subtypes were used          accidentally.
               Natural Resources           to identify threats and actions to abate
                                           the threats.                                  In addition to the breadth of issues facing
                                                                                         wildlife, the specific challenges can vary
                                                                                         greatly from state to state. An animal
                                           Identifying Challenges to                     threatened in one part of the country by
                                           Wildlife and their Habitats                   habitat loss can be subject to competition
                                                                                         with invasive species in another state.
                                           Effective conservation depends on an as-
                                           sessment of the specific issues, challeng-     To lay groundwork for practical, effective
                                           es, and problems that are contributing        conservation actions, the state wildlife
                                           to declines in wildlife and their habitat.    action plans undertook an exhaustive
                                           Once we have identified the reasons            assessment of the threats affecting species

Red-eared slider/USFWS, Gary M. Stolz

16      State Wildlife Action Plans
and habitats. By consulting with experts,      In Action: Assessing Stresses to Illinois’
reviewing existing research, and conduct-      Wildlife and Habitats
ing new field studies, states investigated
the specific issues driving wildlife into       In assessing the stresses on Illinois’ wild-
decline. The impact of these threats           life and habitats, the Illinois Department
were evaluated at many different scales        of Natural Resources reviewed published
including species, habitats, ecoregions or     literature and consulted with experts.
basins, and statewide.                         The challenges for spe-
                                               cies and habitats were
In Action: Identifying New York’s State-       assessed at the level
wide Threats to Habitats and Species           of habitat, community,
                                               population, and direct
As a core step in setting their conser-        human-caused stresses.
vation priorities, the New York State          Experts convened by
Department of Environmental Conserva-          the DNR ranked stresses
tion looked at the array of threats to that    according to their effect
state’s wildlife and habitats. The magni-      on a species’ or habitat’s
tude of each threat was assessed based         viability or abundance.
on species life history traits, population
trends, habitat type and location, and         The Illinois wildlife
other key factors. After identifying threats   action plan’s assessment
for individual species and habitats, the       of the challenges facing
Department of Environmental Conser-            the state’s forest habitats
vation’s planning team evaluated the           illustrates the complexity
highest magnitude threats to New York’s        of the issues facing this
wildlife at the statewide level:               important habitat type.
                                               While the amount
• Habitat loss, fragmentation, and disrup-     of forest has been
tion of natural functions                      increasing in Illinois
                                               over most of the last
•  Degraded water quality, acid rain, and      century, the exclusion of
alteration of natural river and stream         natural fires, the spread
hydrology                                      of invasive plants and
                                                                                                                 Wildflowers/Illinois DNR
                                               disease, and poor timber
•   Invasive exotic plants and animals         harvest practices have resulted in forest
                                               structure and composition that is very dif-
• Incompatible forest management and           ferent from what the state’s native wildlife
agricultural practices                         depend on for survival. In addition, the
                                               state’s forests are highly fragmented by
• Direct human-wildlife conflicts, includ-      development and infrastructure. By look-
ing vehicle collisions and illegal harvest     ing at the full spectrum of issues facing
                                               this important habitat type, the Illinois
•  Climate change affects on the distribu-     wildlife action plan identifies the man-
tion of plants and animals and small or        agement and restoration interventions
isolated populations and the potential         that are needed to improve the condition
impacts of severe weather patterns.            of the forests for the state’s wildlife.

                                                                   Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered           17
                                                                     Targeting Action at               In Action: Cooperative Conservation for
                                                                                                       New Hampshire’s Blanding’s Turtles
                                                                     Key Challenges
                                                                                                       New Hampshire’s Appalachian Oak Pine
                                                                      The heart of the wildlife
                                                                                                       forest habitat is undergoing a high rate
                                                                      action plans is the identifica-
                                                                                                       of loss due to development. Those forests
                                                                      tion of the action steps that
                                                                                                       include freshwater marshes that are home
                                                                      are needed to recover and
                                                                                                       to the Blanding’s turtle, identified by New
                                                                      conserve imperiled wildlife
                                                                                                       Hampshire’s wildlife action plan as a spe-
                                                                      by protecting their habitat
                                                                                                       cies of conservation need. The Blanding’s
                                                                      and addressing other press-
                                                                                                       turtle is declining in numbers, due to high
                                                                      ing conservation issues.
                                                                                                       mortality from collisions with automo-
                                                                      Many prior conservation
                                                                                                       biles and lack of suitable nesting habitat.
                                                                      planning efforts have con-
                                                                                                       The state wildlife action plan calls for
                                                                      ducted assessments—iden-
                                                                                                       innovative private and public partnerships
                                                                      tifying critical conservation
                                                                                                       to strategically conserve the refuge and
                                                                      needs or describing pressing
                                                                                                       movement corridors that are essential for
                                                                      challenges—but they have
                                                                                                       the Blanding turtle’s conservation:
                                                                      stopped there. The wildlife
                                                                      action plans take the process
                                                                                                       • Incorporate habitat conservation into
                                                                      one step farther and actually
                                                                                                       land use planning, including advising
                                                                      identify the actions that need
                                                                                                       conservation commissions and planning
                                                                      to be taken to address those
                                                                                                       boards, and working with regional plan-
                                                                      problems and keep wildlife
                                                                                                       ning agencies to conserve large blocks of
     Oak Barrens Habitat, Juneau Co., WI/Armund Bartz                 healthy. Because they draw
                                                                                                       unfragmented habitat.
                                                        on a wide range of past efforts and new
        “We can really do                               input, the action plans also provide a
                                                                                                         Develop tools for habitat conservation
        more for sensitive                              statewide, strategic picture of how differ-
                                                                                                       through existing programs, such as
        species conserva-                               ent projects and activities can fit together.
                                                                                                       the Landowner Incentive Program,
          tion by working                                                                              Land and Community Heritage Invest-
                                                        The actions identified in the wildlife
       proactively through                                                                             ment Program.
                                                        action plans are built on a foundation of
            farmers and                                 cooperative conservation that emphasizes
                                                                                                         Supply habitat maps to towns that have
        ranchers than we                                the importance of species and habitat
                                                                                                       passed open space bonds to assist local
         can through the                                health and prevention of problems rather
                                                                                                       decision makers with land purchases that
         federal listing of                             than regulatory fixes or top-down man-
                                                                                                       will conserve the Blanding’s turtle and
         sensitive species.                             dates. There are often many different
                                                                                                       other declining wildlife and provide for
                                                        actions that we can take to address the
      The Utah Division of                              challenges facing species and habitats.
                                                                                                       nature-based recreation.
       Wildlife Resources                               By working closely with stakeholders
                                                                                                       In Action: Restoring Wisconsin’s Oak
      & Utah Farm Bureau                                and local communities, wildlife agencies
         Federation share                               were able to identify practical and
           the same goal                                appropriate conservation actions that
                                                                                                       Fewer than 500 acres of intact oak
                                                        will work in each state.
            of making it                                                                               savanna remain in Wisconsin. These
           unnecessary to                                                                              oak openings are home to red-headed
                                                        The actions recommended by states have
                                                                                                       woodpeckers, ornate box turtles, wood-
      federally list species                            similar and important themes like re-
                                                                                                       land voles and a host of other wildlife
        as endangered or                                search, species management, education,
                                                                                                       identified in the action plan as species
      threatened in Utah.”                              habitat restoration, and land conserva-
                                                                                                       of greatest conservation need. The action
        – Mark Petersen, Utah Farm                      tion. What also emerged from the action
                                                                                                       plan helps the state prioritize restoration
              Bureau Federation                         plans are similar tools applied differently,
                                                                                                       efforts by locating oak savanna that have
                                                        depending on each state’s needs.
                                                                                                       major opportunities for restoration and by

18      State Wildlife Action Plans
identifying species of greatest conserva-    In Action: Putting Prairies Back into
tion need that have a significant associa-    Oklahoma’s Landscape
tion with the habitat.
                                             Historically, natural fires in eastern
Bringing back the savanna will require       Oklahoma created open woodlands and
considerable effort in order to focus on     prairies that supported the red-headed
restorable sites and to hone restoration     woodpecker, prairie warbler, brown-
techniques. Education is also important      headed nuthatch, Bachman’s sparrow,
to success; the action plan recommends       prairie butterflies and reptiles. Without
setting up education demonstration areas     fire, forests have grown dense and shady
to give people a first-hand look at the       and prairies are overgrown. Consequently,
kinds of active management it will take to   these species are declining.
restore the savanna, includ-
ing the rejuvenating force of
prescribed fires.

In Action: Strategies to
Prevent and Control Invasive
Species in the Great
Lakes Region

Michigan’s wildlife action
plan identifies preventing and
controlling invasive species
as a high priority. Today, more
than 200 invasive species
are in the Great Lakes basin,
making invasive species one
of the greatest threats to
Michigan’s lands, waters and
wildlife. Control efforts and
monitoring for one problem
species alone, zebra mussels,                                                                               Yellowlegs/Oklahoma DWC

may cost millions over the next ten years.   The state’s wildlife action plan sets the
The wildlife action plan outlines what is    stage for using controlled burns to
needed to stave off new invasive species     restore the prairies and open woodlands,
from gaining entry into the Great Lakes      which will reverse wildlife declines. The
region, including:                           action plan recommends using prescribed
                                             burning in a way that is feasible, safe,
• Develop and apply invasive species         and economically viable to restore
monitoring and inspection systems for        native prairies.
private aquaculture, the bait industry,
the ornamental fish and plant industries,     In Action: North Carolina’s Landowners
the shipping industry, and recreational      and Partners Team Up for Bog Turtle
boaters.                                     Conservation

• Coordinate efforts between agencies,       Almost half of the nation’s wetlands lie
non-governmental organizations, busi-        in the Southeast, and in North Carolina
nesses and individuals to develop a          they add up to close to a fifth of the state.
response strategy to contain and prevent     However, more than half of the state’s
establishment of newly introduced            original wetlands are gone—drained and
invasive species.                            converted for other uses. Wetlands are

                                                                Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered         19
                                         vital to the survival of a majority of the                 Alabama’s wildlife action plan spells
           “The ancient                  state’s rare wildlife and are important to                 out what is needed for longleaf pine
         longleaf forest                 everyone for absorbing flood waters and                     communities, including the restoration
        presented a vista                protecting water                                                                 of longleaf pine on
         of great beauty                 quality. The North                                                               state-owned lands
                                         Carolina wildlife                                                                and coordination
        matched by few
                                         action plan ranks                                                                with local and
          in the world.”                 wetlands such as                                                                 federal agencies to
         – John Powers, biologist,       mountain bogs as                                                                 conserve additional
         Alabama Department of           priority habitats                                                                large tracts of long-
              Conservation and           for conservation                                                                 leaf pine forests.
             Natural Resources           action, and it ranks                                                             By working with
                                                                  Common Murre/USFWS, R. Rohleder
                                         the rare bog turtle                                                              partners like the
                                         as high on the list for conservation atten-                US Forest Service, local land trusts, and
                                         tion. To conserve and restore mountain                     The Nature Conservancy, the state will
                                         bogs that support the bog turtle, specific                  conserve and restore these high priority
                                         strategies in the action plan include:                     tracts, conserving habitat for hundreds of
                                                                                                    important wildlife species.
                                         •  Engage in voluntary cooperative agree-
                                         ments with landowners to keep wetlands                     In Action: Protecting Alaska’s Bird
                                         intact.                                                    Nesting Islands from Invasive Predators

                                         • Coordinate with the North Carolina                       Invasive species are negatively impacting
                                         Department of Transportation to con-                       Alaska’s island-nesting birds. Wherever
                                         serve mountain bogs when planning new                      ships have landed and stowaway Norway
                                         roads.                                                     rats have escaped, they have become
                                                                                                    predators of eggs, young birds, and even
                                         • Join with partners to search for wet-                    adult birds that Alaska’s state wildlife
                                         lands that still support the bog turtle and                action plan names as species of greatest
                                         other rare wildlife.                                       conservation need, such as the common
                                                                                                    murre, black-legged kittiwake, least and
                                         In Action: Conserving Alabama’s Long-                      crested auklets, and storm-petrels.
                                         leaf Pine Forests
                                                                                                    The Alaska wildlife action plan outlines
                                         Longleaf pine forests are considered one                   proactive measures to prevent Norway
                                         of the most endangered habitats in the                     rats from infesting islands through rigor-
                                         country. Alabama’s wildlife action plan                    ous “rat-spill” procedures for shipwrecks,
                                                        identifies longleaf pine                     education of ship crews and removal of
                                                        conservation as one of its                  rats that arrive at harbors, warehouses,
                                                        statewide priorities—with                   and other points of entry. The action plan
                                                        31 species of greatest                      further addresses conservation actions
                                                        conservation need and 34                    within bird nesting islands to monitor
                                                        kinds of wildlife on an ad-                 islands where invasive predators have
                                                        ditional watch list associ-                 been removed to detect if the birds have
                                                        ated with the habitat. That                 started nesting successfully again. The ac-
                                                        list includes species like                  tions will help prevent these species from
                                                        the flatwoods salamander,                    undergoing additional declines that could
     Flatwoods salamander/Pierson Hill
                                                        the eastern indigo snake,                   lead to these birds becoming endangered.
                                         mimic glass lizard, Rafinesque’s big-
                                         eared bat, as well as game species
                                         like the northern bobwhite and eastern
                                         wild turkey.

20    State Wildlife Action Plans
In Action: Pika Alert: Tracking Climate
Change in Nevada

Since the 1990s, this engaging denizen of
the mountain peaks has disappeared from
nine of 25 research sites in the moun-
tains of Nevada, California and Oregon,
according to a recent U.S. Geological
Survey study. The pika may be one of the
first U.S. mammals to be impacted by
global warming. Unlike other species that
live at lower elevations, the pika cannot
move higher to find cooler grounds that
fit its needs because its home already lies
at high elevations. The pika depends on
insulating snows to survive the winter in
its den, and in summer, it retreats to the
rocks to stay cool. Without enough snow
cover, the pika freezes in the winter, and
if the rocks become too hot in summer,
the pika succumbs to heat.

Tracking the long-term responses of the
pika to global climate change is listed as
a high priority research need in Nevada’s
Wildlife Action Plan, which also calls for
assessments of the effects of increased
access and recreation on alpine and                                                                            Mountain stream/Carl Heilman
tundra vegetation and wildlife species.
                                              Montana’s wildlife action plan lists prairie
In Action: Montana: New Information           streams as a community type of great-
Leads to Proactive Steps                      est conservation need. Armed with new
                                              knowledge of the rich wildlife present
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists     in these little-known streams, the action
surveyed thousands of miles of prairie        plan identifies proactive conservation
streams that had never been surveyed          steps with the support of public and
for fish. Crews explored the seemingly         private partners. For example, to pre-
fishless streams and discovered close          vent diverting and dewatering streams,
to 40,000 individual fish, with up to 10       the recommended action is to apply
different species at the average site. Most   water conservation or flow manage-
were minnows or small fish such as the         ment practices that will restore essential
brook stickleback, goldeye, emerald           habitats. To make sure ranchers continue
shiner, shorthead redhorse and sand           to have needed water for livestock dur-
shiner. The crew found a total of 48          ing drought, the strategy is to increase
species during the summer and 30 were         stockwater wells in place of irrigation
native to Montana.                            ditches. Sometimes, fairly simple changes
                                              in practices can make the key difference
                                              for wildlife survival.

                                                                 Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered         21
          “Like the
     resource it seeks
                                                                     Measuring Success
     to protect, wild-

                                                 he wildlife action plans begin     action plans describe how each state
     life conservation                           with an assessment of the          will monitor the status of wildlife and the
     must be dynamic,                            issues facing each state’s wild-   effects of conservation actions. By col-
                                                 life and then identify the full    lecting and analyzing information on the
        changing as                   range of actions that are needed to pre-      status of wildlife and the lands and waters
         conditions                   vent them from becoming endangered.           they need to survive, we can determine if
                                      The success of this approach hinges           our management actions are having the
      change, seeking                 on taking one more step: evaluation.          desired effects and what, if any, adjust-
          always to                   Once we have implemented a project to         ments are needed to improve outcomes.
                                      reintroduce sturgeon to a river system,
       become more                    protect an important parcel of habitat for    Wildlife monitoring activities range
         effective.”                  bobcats, or restore a degraded freshwater     from the long-term collection of data to
                 – Rachel Carson      marsh ecosystem, how do we know if our        establish large-scale population trends,
                                      actions have had the desired effects? Are     to focused investigations into the cause-
                                      the projects and programs we are under-       and-effect results of specific management
                                      taking translating into benefits for target-   actions. Monitoring is also about keep-
                                      ed fish and wildlife? Are we using limited     ing track of the activities, programs, and
                                      resources efficiently and effectively? Are     projects that each state is undertaking.
                                      we ultimately succeeding in preventing        Taken as a whole, the wildlife action
                                      wildlife from becoming endangered?            plans embody a new, strategic approach
                                      To answer these questions, the wildlife       to measuring conservation outcomes.

Pallid sturgeon/Louisiana DWF

22      State Wildlife Action Plans
Adaptive Management:                           mentation of their Wildlife Action Plan,
                                               the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Learning by Doing                              will link several existing databases with
                                               new systems specifically focused on
There are many uncertainties in conserv-
                                               Wildlife Action Plan priorities. These
ing and managing wildlife. While we
                                               databases include several pre-existing
know a lot about some animals and their
                                               individual species databases, the Utah
habitats, we lack a complete understand-
                                               Natural Heritage Program’s rare spe-
ing of the issues and solutions that are
                                               cies occurrence database, and a habitat
needed for every species and habitat.
                                               monitoring database. All of these systems
This is especially true when it comes to
                                               will be unified under an umbrella of a
the state wildlife action plans. Because
                                               new master database that provides uni-
the action plans are focused on wildlife
                                               form codes to link species, habitat, and
species that have received very little prior
                                               conservation action information together.
conservation attention, they
identify thousands of species
about which we have very
little information. Similarly,
we lack basic information on
where some critical habitats
occur and how these complex
systems function.

In the face of incomplete
information, the state wildlife
action plans offer an adap-
tive management approach
to conservation. This ap-
proach views conservation
as a process of implementing
conservation actions as prac-
tical experiments to test what
we know about wildlife and
habitats. By evaluating the
outcomes of our actions, we                                                                                Trumpeter Swan/Wyoming GFD

can revise and improve our
                                               Through these links, database users will
original conservation approaches in order
                                               be able to identify threats, proposed con-
to improve future outcomes. By work-
                                               servation actions, implemented actions,
ing adaptively, we can still take action to
                                               and, ultimately, the response of species
conserve declining wildlife in the face of
                                               and habitats identified as priorities in the
uncertainty. The more action we take, the
                                               Utah Wildlife Action Plan.
more we improve our understanding of
how we can ultimately bring about even
better outcomes for fish and wildlife.          Working Together

In Action: Unifying Information to             Collecting information and tracking
Measure Outcomes in Utah                       the results of conservation projects and
                                               programs can be expensive and resource-
Managing information on wildlife and           intensive. Even monitoring the needs
habitat condition and status is a core         of a few species in a small project can
challenge to effectively measuring con-        require a substantial investment of time
servation outcomes. To support the imple-      and energy. Undertaking this effort for

                                                                  Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered         23
                                                    thousands of species across entire states        In Action: Partnerships to Meet
                                                    could quickly overwhelm any one agency           Monitoring Needs in Wisconsin
                                                    that is working alone.
                                                                                                     Although the Wisconsin Department
                                                    Instead of proposing extensive, inde-            of Natural Resources has the primary
                                                    pendent new monitoring programs,                 responsibility for managing and monitor-
                                                    the wildlife action plans place a strong         ing the state’s wildlife and other natural
                                                    emphasis on partnerships. By working             resources, the job is too big to manage
                                                    together, across state boundaries and with       alone. Therefore, the WDNR is work-
                                                    federal agencies, nongovernmental orga-          ing with its many local, state and federal
                                                    nizations, and the private sector, we can        partners to tackle the monitoring of
                                                    conduct monitoring initiatives and build         species of greatest conservation need and
                                                    consistent and coordinated monitoring            their habitats.
                                                                 programs that will be use-
                                                                 ful at multiple scales and for      The WDNR is already taking some
                                                                 multiple purposes. For rare,        actions in working with partners on
                                                                 wide-ranging wildlife that          improving monitoring efforts in the state.
                                                                 do not recognize political          The Wisconsin EcoAtlas is a web-based,
                                                                 boundaries, multi-state and         searchable system that compiles exist-
                                                                 regional monitoring efforts         ing inventory, monitoring and research
                                                                 may be vital to ensuring con-       projects from around the state with the
                                                                 servation success. Standard-        goal of helping scientists and manag-
                                                                 izing protocols and measures        ers identify where work is already being
                                                                 and improving data sharing          done. It can link the partner with existing
                                                                 among state agencies, federal       databases of information on biological
                                                                 agencies, and nongovern-            diversity such as the Natural Heritage
                                                                 mental organizations will           Inventory Portal and the Aquatic and
                                                                 improve our collective ability      Terrestrial Resource Inventory. Another
                                                                 to compare the effectiveness        ongoing effort is focusing on obtaining in-
                                                                 of strategies and programs.         put from partners on improving the coor-
                                                                                                     dination of natural resources monitoring.
                                                                 In Action: Citizen Scientists       The first step was the Wisconsin Resource
                                                                 Play a Vital Role in Moni-          Monitoring Summit. The Summit brought
                                                                 toring Wildlife Diversity in        together individuals from sixteen local,
                                                                 Washington                          state, regional and federal organizations
                                                                                                     to share information about monitoring
                                                                  Washington’s wildlife action       programs and identify issues related to
                                                                  plan proposes developing a         various elements of a monitoring pro-
     Puget blue butterfly/Kelly McAllister, WA DFW                 Biodiversity Index to track        gram. A set of recommended actions
                                                    long-term changes in wildlife and their          and next steps from the Summit will help
                                                    habitats. The scientifically developed            WDNR move forward with a coordinated
                                                    index will focus on the action plan’s spe-       framework for monitoring the state’s natu-
                                                    cies of greatest conservation need, prior-       ral resources.
                                                    ity habitats and ecoregions. To help carry
                                                    out the massive task of collecting this
                                                    information, the Washington Department
                                                    of Fish and Wildlife proposes a program
                                                    of volunteer citizen scientists. The benefit
                                                    of involving citizens is two-fold: it is cost-
                                                    effective and it involves people in helping
                                                    wildlife, which in turn builds conserva-
                                                    tion understanding and support.

24    State Wildlife Action Plans
                                                                                                              “It is just
    Taking Action                                                                                          unbelievable to
                                                                                                        see the results that
    The wildlife action plans are already          initiative to restore habitat for birds of             the Rich County
    being implemented both by state wildlife       greatest conservation need, including                  Coordinated Re-
    agencies and their partners, including         the Henslow’s sparrow. State biologists             source Management
    federal, state, and local governments,         and mine regulators are teaming up to
                                                                                                       group (a landowner/
    conservation groups, private landowners,       locate active surface mines that can be
    and a variety of other individuals             reclaimed in grass instead of trees. Since            government part-
    and organizations with an interest in          90 percent of the state’s grasslands are             nership) has had in
    wildlife. States are working with partners     in private ownership, conserving and                 Rich County. I have
    to develop shared priorities based on          restoring these habitats takes the kind                seen landowners
    their wildlife action plans, and to adjust     of strategic partnerships that are the
                                                                                                       who would not give
    the wildlife action plans to local and         hallmark of the state’s action plan.
    regional scales. Implementation actions
                                                                                                         the time of day to
    address problems or threats to habitats        In Action: Restoring Sagebrush                           [government
    and species by creating partnerships,          Communities in Utah                                 agencies] say, ‘well,
    restoring habitats, monitoring species,                                                             what can we do for
    and filling in data gaps. States developed     Shrubsteppe, which includes sagebrush,                  wildlife?’ and on
    a variety of approaches to taking action      is a high priority for habitat conservation
    based on the issues they identified            in the Utah Wildlife Action Plan. Wildlife
                                                                                                           the other side,
    and the circumstances of each state.          species of conservation need that depend                the government
    Implementation projects are built on a        on sagebrush include Greater Sage-                    agencies have said,
    foundation of cooperative conservation        grouse, Gunnison’s Sage-grouse, Brewer’s              ‘well, these are the
    that emphasizes the importance of             Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher,                   benefits that will
    species and habitat health and the            and Pygmy Rabbit. Fire suppression and
                                                                                                         come to livestock
    prevention of problems, rather than           invasive species, such as cheatgrass, have
    regulatory fixes or top-down mandates.         impacted the health of sagebrush com-                   [through habitat
                                                                    munities by altering the                work to help
Action Plans as a Common Platform for Action                        natural shrubsteppe plant                wildlife].’”
                                                                    composition. These fac-             – Bill Hopkin, Former Desert

The wildlife action plan provides a common platform                 tors have also decreased                Land and Livestock

for action and can be a tool for partners to use to develop         forage quality for cattle,                Ranch Manager

projects based on shared priorities. Now, all those in-             which is an important
terested in wildlife can work toward the same goals and             component of Utah’s
move from opportunistic conservation to coordinated,                rural economy.
strategic conservation.
                                                                     Utah’s Wildlife
                                                                     Action Plan pro-
                                                   vides new information pinpointing
    In Action: Pennsylvania: Restoring             the sagebrush areas in greatest
    Mining Sites Revives Grassland Wildlife        need of restoration and a better
                                                   understanding of the intricacies of
    In the mining country of western               its wildlife inhabitants. The Utah
    Pennsylvania, reclaimed strip mines will       Division of Wildlife Resources
    offer hope for the return of declining         and its partners are taking action
                                                                                                              Sage grouse/USFWS, Dave Menke
    grassland birds that in turn attract avid      to rejuvenate sagebrush communities to
    birdwatchers to spend money in rural           support native species and Utah’s econo-
    areas. Pennsylvania’s wildlife action plan     my. Reintroducing fire is not often an op-
    calls for a grassland mining reclamation       tion, because high temperatures in thick

                                                                      Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered           25
                                      stands of trees and old sagebrush would           In Action: Working Together to Restore
                                      kill native seeds in the top soil layer.          the American Eel in New York
                                      Instead, land managers are using heavy
                                      equipment to remove non-native plants,            The wildlife action plans are helping
                                      rejuvenate sagebrush stands, and                  states improve coordination both beyond
                                                                                        their borders and within their states. In
                                                                                        New York, as a result of the development
Taking Action with Public Lands Partners                                                of the wildlife action plan, the biolo-
                                                                                        gists in different fields are now working
Many western states have significant federal land ownership—National
                                                                                        together to restore the American eel. The
Forests, Bureau of Land Management, National Parks, National Wildlife
                                                                                        American eel is an unusual species that
Refuges, military bases and more. Public lands compose 83 percent of
                                                                                        breeds in the ocean and matures in fresh-
Nevada and 62 percent of Idaho. State wildlife action plans for these
                                                                                        water. The eel is a declining and impor-
states emphasize coordination among public land managers and state
                                                                                        tant species for commercial fisheries, as
wildlife agencies for the benefit of the wildlife resource.
                                                                                        well as within ocean and freshwater food
                                                                                        webs. Before the state wildlife action
In regions like the Southeast where public lands are few, the national
                                                                                        plan, freshwater biologists studied eels
forests, national parks and national wildlife refuges are critical sanctuaries
                                                                                        along the St. Lawrence River and marine
for wildlife diversity. They also serve a growing number of outdoor
                                                                                        biologists followed the eels in the Hud-
recreationists. The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management,
                                                                                        son and Long Island bay area. As a result
National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have demon-
                                                                                        of the planning process, the biologists
strated their commitment to the action plans—both in helping develop
                                                                                        are now working together to develop a
them and supporting efforts to enact the strategies in every state.
                                                                                        statewide conservation strategy to restore
                                                                                        the American eel.

                                                       reseed native grasses and        In Action: Teaming Up to Clean
                                                       forbs. In addition, grazing      Missouri’s Waters
                                                       practices are being
                                                       altered to maintain              Missouri’s wildlife action plan identifies
                                                       quality shrubsteppe              Tumbling Creek Cave Ecosystem as one
                                                       habitat. Using Utah’s            of its Conservation Opportunity Areas
                                                       wildlife action plan             —landscapes where conservation
                                                       to carry out sagebrush           actions will result in healthy habitats.
                                                       restoration to improve           Each conservation area has its own team
                                                       ecosystem health has the         of partners who drafted the profile and
                                                       enthusiastic endorsement         the resulting conservation tools.
                                                       of landowners,
                                                       and local com-         The     Quest for Knowledge to Take Action
                                                                                 During the development of the wildlife action
                                                                                 plans, states identified information gaps on species
                                                                                 and habitat distribution, status and trends along
                                                                                 with other conservation needs. Filling data gaps
                                                                                 is an important step in carrying out the wildlife
                                                                                 action plans. Some gap analyses may identify a
                                                                                 need for an appropriate future conservation action,
                                                                                 while others may identify current limitations of
      Otter Release/Utah DWR
                                                                                 time and resources.

 26    State Wildlife Action Plans
    Tumbling Creek Cave offers an excellent        outdoor classroom/community space that
    example of the solutions we can expect         will help local residents better understand             “The future of
    across the state in Conservation Opportu-      the connections between surface and                     three-quarters
    nity Areas. Here, groundwater and cave         subsurface ecosystems in this important                   of Georgia’s
    conservation go hand in hand. Recent           cave. The outdoor classroom vision fits                 woodlands rests
    studies revealed that 88 percent of the        within a larger strategy to expand envi-
                                                                                                          in the hands of
                                                                    ronmental education pro-
                                                                    grams. Rather than taking           private non-indus-
Working Across Boundaries                                           a regulatory approach to             trial landowners.
                                                                    mandate cleaner water,                As development
Wildlife knows no boundaries and often the quest to                 the solution is coop-
conserve wildlife requires working across ownership                                                    spreads throughout
                                                                    erative and beneficial to
lines of public and private lands, as well as state and                                                     the state, it is
                                                                    people and wildlife alike.
international borders. Neotropical migratory birds—from                                                   critical to help
scarlet tanagers to Arctic terns—nest in the U.S. and               In Action: Bringing Back           private landowners
winter south of the border. Salmon in the Pacific North-             Oklahoma’s Grassland               conserve adequate,
west swim from the ocean up the Columbia River to
spawning streams as far away as Idaho. Elk, bighorn
                                                                    Wildlife                            healthy forests for
sheep, and mule deer in the Rocky Mountain states                                                        all of our wildlife
                                                                    If a grassland looks like
descend from higher elevation National Forest lands to              a grassland is it always           and for the citizens
spend winters in the mild foothills.                                suitable for wildlife? The           of this state who
                                                                    answer might be no—if                    cherish their
                                                                    the grasses are not native.           natural lands so
    Mark Twain school’s sewage lagoon was          That is why the Texas horned lizard, the
                                                                                                       much. That’s why we
    leaking into the groundwater that feeds        mountain plover, and other grassland
    Tumbling Creek Cave—the most biologi-          species in trouble. In western Oklahoma,
                                                                                                        took an active role
    cally diverse cave west of the Mississippi     the Conservation Reserve Program has                 in helping develop
    River and home to at least six animals         played a tremendous role in preventing                    the Wildlife
    recently discovered by science, such as        soil erosion by taking the most sensi-                   Action Plan.”
    the Tumbling Creek Cavesnail—the only          tive lands out of production. Farmers are                – Steve McWilliams,
    known location in the world for this           compensated for not farming the lands.               Georgia Forestry Association
    endangered species.                            However, those lands traditionally were                Executive Vice President
                                                   planted with exotic grasses. Oklahoma’s
    With the aid of State Wildlife Grants,         wildlife action plan proposes to replant
    local residents have come together to im-      those lands with native grasses and bring
    prove the sewage treatment system for the      back native wildlife.
    school. The next step will be to create an

  Prairie dogs/Oklahoma DWC

                                                                      Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered    27
                                        In Action: Wildlife Workshops for            In Action: Where the rubber meets the
           “When wildlife               Georgia’s Private Landowners                 road—new partnership with Vermont’s
            conservation is                                                          highway department
           integrated with              Offering guidance to private landown-
            transportation              ers to manage rare wildlife and sensitive    Wildlife is literally on a collision course
                                        habitats on their properties emerged as      with the automobile. Vermont’s road sys-
           planning, wild-
                                        one of the top priorities in the Georgia     tem grew by more than 14,000 miles over
         life, motorists and            wildlife action plan. The Georgia Depart-    the past 25 years and the number of ve-
          taxpayers all win.            ment of Natural Resources worked with a      hicle miles traveled by Vermont residents
         Roads and wildlife             variety of stakeholders including private    is growing at seven times the population
          are safer, mainte-            forestland owners and managers through-      growth. Now, thanks to a partnership that
                                        out the state to develop the plan, and the   has blossomed from the state wildlife ac-
           nance costs may
                                        agency strengthened its participation in     tion planning effort, the Vermont Fish and
           be reduced, and              the Georgia Sustainable Forestry Initia-     Wildlife Department and the Vermont
            projects speed              tive Implementation Committee. Through       Agency of Transportation (VTrans) have
              through the               that committee, Georgia DNR is putting       formed a wildlife steering committee to
            permitting and              its action plan on the ground by offering    pinpoint wildlife travel corridors. They
                                        wildlife workshops and technical guid-       are planning for wildlife underpasses and
        regulatory process.”
                                        ance for foresters, timber harvesters and    overpasses at key road crossings that will
                  – Gina Campoli,
                                        private landowners.                          cut down on mortality for black bear,
              Environmental Policy
                                                                                     bobcat and amphibians. The committee
                  Manager, VTrans
                                                                                     also steers highway development away
                                                                                     from important habitats and corridors.
Taking Action to Help Private Landowners                                             State Wildlife Grants are helping fund
                                                                                     improved culvert designs to allow fish
Private landowners play a vital role in conserving                                   passage—good news for lamprey and
habitats that support wildlife that are at risk of becoming                          brook trout.
endangered. Action plan tools emphasize incentives and
other positive approaches that foster cooperation across
public and private boundaries. States with high levels
of private land ownership and few public lands strongly
emphasize the role of private lands in their action plans,
as well as the need to conserve key wildlife habitats that
are not yet conserved.

 Culvert assessment/C. Alexander

 28       State Wildlife Action Plans
                                                                                                          “The nation behaves
Carrying on the Legacy                                                                                      well if it treats the
A Call to Action                                                                                            natural resources
                                                                                                             as assets which it
We now have the guidance we have                    develop plans to carry out the actions.                 must turn over to
long sought as a nation to make sure our            The cooperation, collaboration and                    the next generation
wildlife conservation efforts are efficient          goodwill that are the stamp of every                    increased and not
and directed to the habitats, wildlife and          action plan also offer hope for positive               impaired in value.”
actions of highest need. The wildlife               solutions to balance growth and wildlife                   – Theodore Roosevelt
action plans are the result of unprec-              conservation. The action plans are full of
edented cooperation. It is critical that the        examples of such solutions, and they give
plans not sit on a shelf. The action plans          a strong indication of what we can expect
collectively outline a national effort—we           ahead of us. Our country is poised to
need to adequately fund them and to                 follow a plan in every state so that we
provide resources and commitments from              can keep wildlife from declining to the
partners to make them a reality.                    brink of extinction. We know that once
                                                    wildlife has slipped to dangerously low
Our nation has risen to the challenge to            numbers, it is much more difficult and
conserve our wildlife in great times of             more costly to recover the species.                 Louisiana Pine Snake/Louisiana DWF
need. When our game
species were in peril-
ous straits, our country       State Wildlife Grants Increases Capacity of States to Conserve
rallied to pass the 1937       Wildlife Diversity
Wildlife Restoration
Act. We pulled together        State Wildlife Grants have significantly increased the capacity of states to keep
again to conserve our          wildlife from becoming endangered. Prior to State Wildlife Grants, in 1992
fisheries in 1950 for the       Montana had a wildlife diversity budget of $130,000. In 2005, State Wildlife Grants
Sport Fish Restoration         alone provided more than $1 million to Montana’s wildlife diversity program.
Act. When we saw wild-         Alabama increased its wildlife diversity budget from $462,000 in 1998 to more
life faced with extinc-        than $2.5 million in 2004. The great majority of this was derived from State Wildlife
tion we passed the 1973        Grants. While State Wildlife Grants have helped states make huge strides in wildlife
Endangered Species Act.        diversity there is much more to be done. All states and territories have a great need
Most recently, Congress        for more funding to keep our wildlife populations healthy.
approved the 2000 State
Wildlife Grants program
to promote a more comprehensive                  Carrying out state wildlife action plans
approach to wildlife conservation. Today,        will conserve wildlife and vital natural
we stand at another juncture where               places, protecting clean water and air
acting now to fund the action plans              that are essential to our health, bringing
requested by Congress will demonstrate           peace and relaxation to our busy lives,
our generation’s commitment to keep              and ensuring that nature continues to
wildlife from becoming endangered.               play a part of our important family
                                                 traditions. As our communities grow, we
We have a clear strategy to prevent              will depend on the actions in the plans              Camp Marydale joins the Natural Areas
wildlife from falling through the cracks,        to fulfill our responsibility for the next                 Registry Program/Louisiana DWF

by taking actions to restore the lands and       generation to safeguard our precious
waters that all wildlife depends on. State       birds, fish, mammals and other wildlife
wildlife agencies will lead the way—             before they become more rare and more
working closely with the individuals,            costly to conserve.
organizations and agencies that helped

                                                                         Working Together to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered   29
Teaming with Wildlife                                            State Agency Contacts
Teaming with Wildlife is a
national coalition of more          Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources   Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks
than 3,500 organizations            (334) 242-3849,             (406) 444-3186,

working together to                 Alaska Department of Fish & Game                         Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
                                    (907) 465-614,                      (402) 471-5539,
prevent wildlife from
becoming endangered                 Arizona Game & Fish Department                           Nevada Department of Wildlife
                                    (602) 789-3278,                            (775) 688-1599,
by supporting increased
                                    Arkansas Game & Fish Commission                          New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
state and federal funding           (501) 223-6305,                             (603) 271-3422,
for wildlife conservation,
                                    California Department of Fish & Game                     New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
outdoor recreation and              (916) 653-7667,                           (609) 292-9410,
conservation education              Colorado Division of Wildlife                            New Mexico Game & Fish Department
in every state. This                (303) 291-7208,                 (505) 476-8008,

coalition includes wildlife         Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection       New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
                                    (860) 424-3010,              (518) 402-8924,
biologists, state wildlife
agencies, conservationists,         Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife                     North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
                                    (302) 739-9910,                 (919) 707-0010,
hunters, anglers, bird-
                                    District of Columbia Natural Resources Division          North Dakota Game & Fish Department
watchers, businesses, and           Fisheries & Wildlife Branch                              (701) 328-6305,
many others who support             (202) 535-2273,
                                                                                             Ohio Division of Wildlife
the goal of restoring and           Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission          (614) 265-6304,
                                    (850) 488-2975,
conserving our nation’s                                                                      Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
wildlife. Visit Teaming             Georgia Wildlife Resources Division                      (405) 521-4660,
                                    (770) 918-6401,
for Wildlife at:                                                                             Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
                                    Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources          (503) 947-6044,                     (808) 587-0401,
                                                                                             Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
                                    Idaho Fish & Game Department                             (717) 705-7801,
                                    (208) 334-5159,
                                                                                             Pennsylvania Game Commission
                                    Illinois Department of Natural Resources                 (717) 787-3633,
                                    (217) 785-0075,
                                                                                             Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife
                                    Indiana Department of Natural Resources                  (401) 789-3094,
                                    (317) 232-4091,
                                                                                             South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
                                    Iowa Department of Natural Resources                     (803) 734-4007,
                                    (515) 281-5385,
                                                                                             South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department
                                    Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks                    (605) 773-3387,
                                    (316) 672-5911,
                                                                                             Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
                                    Kentucky Department of Fish/Wildlife Resources           (615) 781-6552,
                                    (502) 564-7109 X333,
                                                                                             Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
                                    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries           (512) 389-4802,
                                    (225) 765-2623,
                                                                                             Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
                                    Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife,         (801) 538-4703,
                                    (207) 287-5202,
                                                                                             Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
                                    Maryland Department of Natural Resources                 (802) 241-3730,
                                    (410) 260-8549,
                                                                                             Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
                                    Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Wildlife &        (804) 367-9231,
                                    Environmental Law Enforcement
                                    (508) 792-7270,      Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
                                                                                             (360) 902-2225,
                                    Michigan Department of Natural Resources
                                    (517) 373-2329,                     West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
                                                                                             (304) 558-2771,
                                    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
                                    (651) 259-5180,                      Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
                                                                                             (608) 266-2621,
                                    Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks
                                    (601) 432-2001,                            Wyoming Game & Fish Department
                                                                                             (307) 777-4501,
                                    Missouri Department of Conservation
                                    (573) 522-4115,

 30   State Wildlife Action Plans
                                      “It is our task in our time and in our generation, to hand
                                       down undiminished to those who come after us, as was
                                     handed down to us by those who went before, the natural
                                           wealth and beauty which is ours.” —John F. Kennedy

Watching wildlife in Oklahoma/ODWC
444 No. Capitol St. NW, Suite 725

Washington, DC 20001

Tel: 202.624.7890

                                    Printed on recycled paper with vegetable based inks.

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