States And Territories Submit Wildlife Action Plans
Wildlife agencies from all 50 states and six U.S. territories have submitted Wildlife Action Plans for approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, establishing a nationwide blueprint to conserve imperiled species so they don’t become threatened or endangered.
If approved, the Wildlife Action Plans will be the first of their kind–a thorough state-by-state look at wildlife and the actions needed to ensure their survival. The action plans also will allow states and territories to continue to receive grants under the State Wildlife Grant program created under 2001 bipartisan legislation. Since then, the Fish and Wildlife Service has provided $400 million in grants to states and territories for conservation efforts.
The law required states and territories to have their individual plans submitted to the Service by October 2005. The Service currently plans to distribute $68.5 million in grants next spring for states and territories to implement approved action plans.
The Wildlife Action Plans establish a coordinated strategy for wildlife agencies to help all wildlife species. In the past, most of the states and territories have had great success in managing game species. This new program will help fund expansion of their conservation work to include all wildlife species and their habitats.
A team of eight U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and five state wildlife administrators are in the process of reviewing the plans and will forward their recommendations to the Service Director for final approval.
States may use the funds for either planning or project implementation activities. For the 50 states, the apportionment is based on a formula that uses each state’s land area and population. States may receive no more than 5% or less than 1% of the total available funds. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive one-half of 1% and Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands will receive one-fourth of 1%.
Each state or territory plan must contain information on low and declining populations of wildlife and the habitats they require, identify problems that affect these populations, identify research and survey efforts to improve their conservation efforts, determine actions and priorities. Once the state plans have been approved agencies will revise and update their plans at least once every 10 years.