State wildlife action plans outline the steps that are needed to conserve wildlife and habitat before they become more rare and more costly to protect. Taken as a whole, they present a national action agenda for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered.
In order to receive funds through the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and the State Wildlife Grants Program, Congress charged each state and territory with developing a wildlife action plan. These proactive plans, known technically as “comprehensive wildlife conservation strategies,”” assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline the actions that are needed to conserve them over the long term.
While the wildlife action plans share a common framework of required elements, they are tailored to each state’s unique wildlife, habitat, and conservation needs. State wildlife agencies worked together through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to develop the action plans.
The wildlife action plans focus on practical measures to protect and restore important lands and waters, curb invasive species, and address other pressing conservation needs. The action plans emphasize incentives and collaboration rather than top-down regulations. The action plans also stress the need to gather the best scientific information in order to make effective decisions.