USFWS OK’s Pennsylvania wildlife action plan

HARRISBURG, Pa. — An updated blueprint for continued management and protection of Pennsylvania’s fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This revision updates the 2005 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan that has guided management of the Commonwealth’s troubled wildlife for the past 10 years. The approved 2015-2025 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan ensures that the Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission remain eligible for federal funding through the State Wildlife Grant Program.

Using the best available science, the PFBC and Game Commission coordinated the congressionally required 10-year update of the Commonwealth’s existing wildlife action. Also contributing technical expertise to this reorganized and updated plan were federal and other state agencies, conservation organizations and several universities, including a small army of affiliated biologists and other professionals. Administered by both commissions, this plan is a road map for all Pennsylvanians interested in wildlife conservation.

Since 2000, when enacting legislation established the State Wildlife Grant Program, Pennsylvania has received about $29 million, matched by $17 million in non-federal funding, and invested it in more than 100 projects with conservation partners. In recent years the Commonwealth has received about $1.5 million annually – shared equally between the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission – to protect and recover imperiled species, such as bald eagles and ospreys, and their habitats.

Funds also have helped fund numerous projects providing crucial information on species distribution and populations for everything from northern flying squirrels to Atlantic sturgeon, contributing greatly to an improved understanding of their status and management needs. It also has helped fund regional investigations of white-nose syndrome and development of the state’s second atlas of breeding birds.

The plan, which included public input during the revision process, outlines which wildlife species face a considerable uphill battle and what actions we can take to help them right their populations. Some require government initiatives; others, local or property owner involvement. But there are plenty of species in need of help, and many recommendations on how people can get involved. The plan offers its vision on how people who care about wildlife can advance conservation through local, state and national programs and projects, and works hard to raise awareness of the problems wildlife faces.

The plan offers insight and comprehensive guidance on how best to tackle the problems of Pennsylvania’s 664 species of greatest conservation need, a list comprised of including 90 birds, 19 mammals, 65 fishes, 22 reptiles, 18 amphibians and 450 terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan, and its significant role in conservation, as well as State and Tribal Wildlife Grant projects within Pennsylvania, visit the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s website at www.fishandboat.com.

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