In 2005, Washington, along with forty-nine states and six territories, completed an approved Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. Completion of the strategy has enabled the state to obtain funding for conservation initiatives from the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program, a relatively new funding source established by Congress in 2001. The program represented one of the farthest-reaching national conservation efforts in nearly 30 years. In Washington, this strategy (now called the State Wildlife Action Plan or SWAP), provided an opportunity to compile and organize a wealth of information about species and habitats at risk in the state, with a special focus on those not yet listed as threatened or endangered. A consistent theme of the national planning process has been the need to get ahead of species listings, and direct conservation attention when possible to species before they become imperiled and options for recovery become more limited. Washington's CWCS provides information on conservation threats and needed actions for 186 Species of Greatest Conservation Need as well as a number of habitat types across the state. For access to the 2005 CWCS, please visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/cwcs/2005_cwcs.html.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service requires that State Wildlife Action Plans be updated every 10 years, and Washington's revised plan is due in October of 2015. Our revision must address eight essential elements, summarized as follows:
- Identify the distribution, abundance and status of species of greatest conservation need (SGCN).
- Describe extent and condition of key habitats and community types essential to the conservation of SGCN.
- Identify problems and threats that affect SGCN and their habitats.
- Determine actions to conserve SGCN and their habitats.
- Provide for periodic monitoring of SGCN and their habitats, determining effectiveness of conservation, and adapting to new information or conditions.
- Provide for Review and Revision
- Coordinate the development and implementation with appropriate federal, state, local agencies and tribes.
- Provide for necessary public involvement in the revision, and implementation of the SWAP
Washington is currently reviewing the 2005 CWCS to assess which areas need revision, and to prepare revised products as necessary.
A series of workshops and webinars are planned for January and February 2015 to introduce draft components of the revised SWAP to interested parties and to collect feedback and comments. These outreach events are deliberately scheduled in advance of an actual draft and are intended to serve as an opportunity to gather feedback early in the process. The results will be used to inform the production of the narrative and full draft revised plan.
If you'd like to receive notice about these workshops and/or the availability of a formal draft for review (scheduled for June, 2015), please email Lynn Helbrecht, SWAP Coordinator at WDFW. Questions or comments may also be directed to Lynn at (360) 902-2238 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.