Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced today that
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved
wildlife action plans for all 56 states and
territories, marking the final phase of an
important step in conservation history. For the
first time ever, all state and territorial fish
and wildlife agencies have established
comprehensive conservation plans that, together,
provide a nationwide blueprint of actions to
conserve imperiled species and prevent them from
becoming threatened or endangered.
"The states possess a wealth of knowledge about
the conservation issues and wildlife species
within their borders," said Secretary Kempthorne.
"These plans tap into this expertise and
demonstrate our commitment to conservation
partnerships with the state wildlife agencies.
Working together with them, as well as with
tribes, local governments, conservation groups
and private landowners, we can help prevent
wildlife from becoming threatened or
The Wildlife Action Plans are a thorough
state-by-state look at wildlife and the actions
needed to ensure their survival. The plans will
also allow state and territorial fish and
wildlife agencies to continue to receive grants
under the State Wildlife Grant program signed by
President Bush in 2001.
In order to be eligible for State Wildlife Grant
funds, each state fish and wildlife agency was
required to complete a wildlife action plan. The
plans were developed as a collaborative effort
that included biologists, conservationists,
landowners and the general public. The plans
were reviewed by a national team that included
representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and several state fish and wildlife
The in-depth approval process took more than a
year for some action plans. The final nine plans
were approved today by the Service, covering
Massachusetts, Ohio, Colorado, Arkansas,
American Samoa, Guam, California, Delaware and
the District of Columbia.
"A strong cooperative approach was integral when
constructing our state wildlife action plans to
ensure the health and survival of all wildlife,"
said Ed Parker, president of the Association of
Fish and Wildlife Agencies and bureau chief of
the Connecticut Department of Environmental
Protection. "In just a few years time, we have
already seen the results of working in closer
relationships with other conservation agencies
and organization within our states. Never has
such a comprehensive set of plans been
constructed with so much input."
"The plans identify what species and habitats
are declining, but not yet officially threatened
or endangered," Kempthorne added. "By using this
information we can act now before it's too late.
The Administration is excited about this
historic milestone since it offers a new and
creative approach to broad scale, cost-effective
conservation and this sentiment is shared widely
by others in the conservation community."
Each plan must provide information on low and
declining populations of wildlife and the
habitats they require, identify problems
impacting these populations, identify needed
research and survey efforts to improve
conservation, and determine priorities. Agencies
will revise and update their plans at least once
every 10 years.
The state plans must also contain specific
actions. For example, Alabama will use some of
the grant money to establish a facility
dedicated to captive breeding the state's fish,
mussel, snail and crayfish species of highest
conservation concern. Alabama is hoping to
reintroduce a number of these species back to
their historic habitats in the future.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided
more than $360 million in grants to states and
territories for conservation efforts. A state
may receive no more than 5 percent or less than
1 percent of the available funds. The District
of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
each receives 0.5 percent and Guam, American
Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
each receives 0.25 percent. The apportionment is
based on a formula that uses the state's land
area and population.
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
Number for the State Wildlife Grants is 15.634.
To learn more about a particular state's plan,
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA)
-- the organization that represents all of
North America's fish and wildlife agencies --
promotes sound management and conservation, and
speaks with a unified voice on important fish
and wildlife issues. Found on the web at