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State Wildlife Action Plan

Sicklefin redhorse (Brett Albanese/DNR)

Revising the Plan

To safeguard our state’s natural heritage, DNR developed its first State Wildlife Action Plan in 2005. This management plan outlines the steps needed to proactively conserve wildlife and habitats before they become rarer and more costly to protect. Funding comes through a State Wildlife Grant, with matching funds from Georgia’s Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Congress requires a comprehensive reviews of Wildlife Action Plans at least every 10 years to incorporate new information and changing conditions. DNR worked closely with partner agencies, organizations, academic institutions, land managers and other stakeholders to review and revise the plan. 

The draft revision was made available for public comment in summer 2015 through July 15, including options for online comments, through email and at three forums held across the state July 1, 7 and 8. Following further changes, the draft plan was submitted that September to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for review. The federal agency approved it in September 2016.

Although Georgia is one of the most biologically diverse states in the nation, approximately 320 of our native species are state or federally protected. The Wildlife Action Plan identifies 290 plant and 349 animal species as high priorities for conservation. And more than 100 species occurring within Georgia are petitioned for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. The plan prioritizes 150 actions to help recover and conserve these species and their habitats. 

High-priority species in the plan are those that rank highest for recommended research or other conservation-related measures. 

Also, while focused on animals not fished for or hunted, rare plants and natural habitats, the Wildlife Action Plan also addresses controlling invasives such as feral hogs and coyotes, and researching, restoring and acquiring habitats that benefit nongame and game species, such as northern bobwhites and middle Georgia’s black bears. But the plan does not involve hunting, fishing or trapping regulations.

Since the original version of Georgia’s Wildlife Action Plan in 2005, work such as prescribed burning, invasive species control, and native vegetation restoration have enhanced high-priority habitats on public and private conservation lands. Data gathered from survey and monitoring efforts has helped manage populations of amphibians, coastal shorebirds, sea turtles, and rare plants. Recovery efforts for federally-listed species, technical assistance programs for private landowners, and environmental education have all benefited from the resources and direction provided through the Wildlife Action Plan.

Do you enjoy hearing the melodies of songbirds, watching the antics of wildlife, or photographing delicate wildflowers? As much as these natural resources enrich our lives aesthetically, they also are linked to us ecologically, socially and economically. Our quality of life is affected by how well we conserve wildlife and the places they call home.

By helping guide conservation efforts statewide, the Wildlife Action Plan works to ensure that the wildlife and wild places Georgians enjoy are conserved now and for future generations.

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