Wildlife Action Plan
Wisconsin's Strategy for Wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Attempting a piecemeal approach to conserving our nation's wildlife is a little like building your
house without an architectural blueprint or enough materials. You do the best you can but, down the road, end up
spending more money just to fix the problems. Until now, state fish and wildlife agencies have tried to conserve hundreds
of species of fish and wildlife on shoestring budgets. While wildlife conservation has mostly been funded by the sales of
hunting and fishing licenses, user fees on gear, and donations; the rest of our nation's wildlife has lacked secure and
adequate funding for long-term conservation. The result? A federal endangered species list that already tops 1,000 and
continues to grow.
Wisconsin's Wildlife Action Plan has the potential to transform wildlife conservation efforts for all species The Plan is a
proactive way to conserve wildlife and natural places for future generations.
How did this start?
Congress created the State Wildlife Grants Program to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered. The grant program
provides funding for on the ground conservation projects. Each state is required to prepare a Wildlife Action Plan to
remain eligible for funding. Each Wildlife Action Plan must focus on "Species of Greatest Conservation Need".
What is a Wildlife Action Plan?
This plan, also known as the comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan, is the result of a statewide effort to identify
which of our native Wisconsin species are of greatest conservation need. The Action Plan presents priority conservation
actions to protect the species and their habitats. The Plan also:
Ensures that Wisconsin remains eligible for federal funding from the State Wildlife Grants Program, a federal
program that provides funds to prevent species and habitats from becoming threatened or endangered.
Sets priorities for the continued allocation of State Wildlife Grants funds in Wisconsin.
Provides guidance and information, including a reference database, for government agencies, tribes, and the full
range of public and private partners to use to support their conservation efforts.
What will the Plan do for Wisconsin wildlife?
The plan outlines actions that Wisconsinites can take to conserve wildlife and natural places before they become more
rare and more costly to protect.
What are Species of Greatest Conservation Need?
Species of Greatest Conservation Need have low and/or declining populations that are in need of conservation action.
They include various birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates (e.g. dragonflies, butterflies, and
freshwater mussels) that are:
Already listed as threatened or endangered;
At risk because of threats to their life history needs or their habitats;
Stable in number in Wisconsin, but declining in adjacent states or nationally.
Of unknown status in Wisconsin and suspected to be vulnerable.
The bottom line: Wisconsin's Wildlife Action Plan is our first comprehensive opportunity to plan for and fund programs
to conserve these species and the habitats they require. It's an important and exciting new opportunity!
Wildlife Action Plan Background
How did this start?
Congress created the State Wildlife Grants Program to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered. The grant
program provides funding for on the ground conservation projects. Each state is required to prepare a Wildlife
Action Plan to remain eligible for funding. Each Action Plan must focus on "Species of Greatest Conservation
What does Congress require from each state?
The main goal of the plan, as defined by Congress, is to keep species
off the state and Federal endangered and threatened species lists. To
accomplish this, the states are asked to:
Consider all native wildlife, game and nongame, large and small,
as long as the focus is on those species of greatest conservation
Take proactive action for the species of greatest conservation need
and their habitats;
Create partnerships, build on past efforts, and implement the plan
through local actions; and
Implement the plan without introducing new regulations or constraints.
Congress requires eight elements be included in the Wildlife Action Plan. Those are:
1. What's here now? - distribution and abundance of wildlife species. Focus on low and declining species
that are indicators of the health of the state's wildlife.
2. Health check - location and condition of habitats that are vital to conserving priority species.
3. Threats - identifying problems that may harm wildlife species and habitat, and priority research for
4. Actions - prescriptions and priorities for conserving wildlife species and habitats.
5. Monitoring - how to assess and measure effectiveness of conservation actions.
6. Review - assessment at intervals not to exceed 10 years.
7. Coordination - involvement of federal, state, local agencies and Indian tribes that manage lands or
programs affecting wildlife.
8. Public participation - required by law and essential for success in developing and carrying out plans.
You are needed now - and later too!
4th Quarter Wildlife Action Plan Project
For this project, you will create a presentation (report, PowerPoint, poster, or brochure) explaining the Wildlife
Action Project of the WDNR. This project will have several parts. Overall, your top priority is to provide
specific examples that help your audience to understand the
Part 1: Overview of the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan. As
succinctly as you can, explain what a WWAP is. Explain it in
your own words and so that a reader who is younger than you
could easily understand it. Use the attached sheets.
Part 2: Definitions: in bulleted paragraphs, explain each of the
following components of this figure in your own words: a)
Species of Greatest Conservation Need, b) Natural Communities,
c) Ecological Landscapes, d) Probability of Occurrence, e)
Degree of Association, f) Opportunity for Management,
Protection, or Restriction, and g) Priorities. Include the figure on
the left with your explanations.
Part 3: Methodology: explain how species were identified as needing an Action Plan. The official explanation
can be found at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/wwap/plan/pdfs/02_3_0_Vert_Methods.pdf .
In the explanation you will provide in your own words, address the following questions: 1) What was the first
“filter” that a species had to pass in order to be considered for an Action Plan? 2) i) What is a “Mean Risk
Score” and how was this created? ii) What does it tell us about the species? 3) Briefly explain each of the 7
criteria used to establish a score and the considerations that went into creating each of the 7 scores. 4) Provide 5
examples of why some exceptions that did not have a high enough Mean Risk Score were still given an Action
Plan. 5) Explain the final two groups of vertebrates that were identified as needing conservation attention but
not given an Action Plan. What are these two groups and how were their species chosen? Provide 3 examples
of species that fit on one of these two lists and why they were put on these lists (“Justification”).
Part 4: Species Examples: in bulleted paragraphs, explain one species with a Wildlife Action Plan from each of
the five categories: a) Birds, b) Mammals, c) Fish, d) Invertebrates, and e) Herptiles. (Visit
http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/wwap/explore/profiles.asp for the species information). For each species, provide
a) a picture of the species, b) their Species Assessment Scores, and c) a brief but thorough explanation for why
this species has an Action Plan and what is being done to save them.
Part 5: Conclusion and Reflection, and Bibliography: For the first component of this section, reflect on this
process and the species you selected. How do you feel about what is being done to save these species? Is this
approach adequate, or does it fall short in your opinion. For the second component, answer the question “How
can we make people take more action to protect these species” in a half page or more.
All components of this project must be typed in12 pt font and free of spelling/grammar errors. Project due dates
are on the following page. All sources are cited and the paper must be free of plagiarism (plagiarism = F).
Wildlife Action Plan Project Due Dates
This will be an intensive project. It will require you to stay on task. Deadlines will be established to help you
prevent procrastination. These deadlines are their own assignments! This means that you will be graded for
both a first draft that is turned in on the deadline in addition to a final overall grade for the entire project.
This means that you will turn in two versions of each of the 5 parts of this project – one rough draft on its due
date, and one final copy. This material will be covered in class, but you are responsible for completing this
project as homework. Work time will be provided on the basis of how well it is utilized – i.e. if you do not use
the work time given to you in class, work time will not be provided for you thereafter.
Completion grades will be assigned for the initial rough draft due date. These are not a quality grade! They are
merely incentives for you to stay on task and on schedule. Work that shows clear effort will be given a full
grade; work that is incomplete or lacking in effort will receive a lower grade or a 0.
Due dates are as follows. Note: these dates can change if necessary – depending on the class’s progress, I may
offer extensions or eliminate due dates if they are not necessary. Any changes will be immediately posted on
my website and stated in class. If you are willing to show effort, I am willing to make exceptions if I can.
Project Due Dates:
April 20th – Project Introduction – the class will be introduced to the project and each of the five parts will be
May 1st: Part 1 Due
May 8th: Parts 2 & 3 Due
May 15th: Parts 4 & 5 Due
May 22nd: Final Project Due (NOTE: must be second drafts of previously submitted work)
While more specific information will be provided in class, general grading criteria is as follows:
- Professionalism: all work is typed and free of spelling/grammar errors. Sentences are easy to read and
understand. Information is clearly provided. Work is well organized with headings and bullet points. If
a hard copy is submitted, it is provided in a folder or binder that makes for easier reading.
- Thoroughness: all requested material is provided. Information is not lacking or unclear. All sources are
cited. Nothing is plagiarized (if a statement is copied, it is put in quotations and the author is denoted).
- Effort: work was not done “just to get it done”. The paper shows clear effort and concern.
- Accuracy: descriptions of methods and species are complete and do not have misinformation.
- Appearance: simply put, this project looks like something a government or educational agency would
provide to the public. Sections are labeled. Graphics are provided. Elements of design are incorporated.