Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Feds approve N.Y.’s conservation outline

Staff report

Albany – New York’s bulky Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation
Strategy, an 1,100-page document outlining efforts to manage 544
species, has received federal approval.

DEC Commissioner Denise Sheehan announced last month the plan –
designed to maintain wildlife populations and habitat – has been
approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

That approval paves the way for federal State Wildlife Grant
funds, of which New York has received about $3 million annually
since 2002.

The USFWS’s approval of the plan is the final step in a more
than two-year effort by DEC staff and over 100 governmental agency
and organizational partners to meet a congressional mandate to
develop a blueprint to conserve wildlife and prevent additional
species from being added to the federal Endangered Species

“The strategy is a step forward in promoting healthy wildlife
and habitats and I look forward to working with our conservation
partners to implement the CWCS,” Sheehan said.

Goals of New York’s CWCS are to:

  • Reverse documented declines in over 544 species of fish and
    wildlife including some at risk of becoming endangered;
  • Inform citizens and stakeholders of actions needed to conserve
    fish and wildlife populations; and
  • Foster application of good science and the quest for new
    knowledge in effective management of our most vulnerable fish and
    wildlife species.

“Accomplishing these goals will make our fish and wildlife
management more effective by conserving species before they become
imperiled,” Sheehan said. “The (plan) helps connect our existing
environmental quality programs with the needs of the wildlife that
are so important to our citizens.”

DEC officials said the plan focuses not on species that are
hunted, trapped or fished or those listed as endangered or
threatened, but species that don’t necessarily fall into any of
those categories. The goal of the plan is to keep those species
from becoming endangered or threatened.

To maintain eligibility for the federal funds, Congress required
all states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to
submit a comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy to the USFWS
by Oct. 1, 2005. In his letter to Sheehan, USFWS Director H. Dale
Hall said New York’s proposal “is truly comprehensive in its
inclusion of (species) from all taxa, key habitat descriptions,
consideration of threats, recommended conservation actions…and
stakeholder/public involvement process.”

The CWCS documents the diversity of New York’s natural
resources. New York has more dragonfly and damselfly species than
any state except Texas and more mammal species than any state in
the Northeast. However, only 55 percent of the state’s plants and
vertebrates are considered secure and the status of most
invertebrates remains unknown, according to the New York Natural
Heritage Program (NYNHP).

The CWCS found that the biological diversity of the state is
challenged by development sprawl, habitat degradation and loss,
invasive species, pollution and climate change.

The 544 species of greatest conservation need identified in the
CWCS include 22 mammals, 118 birds, 44 reptiles and amphibians, 99
fish, and 261 invertebrates.

DEC and its partners will be forming CWCS watershed teams to
implement the recommendations in the strategy. Local governments,
hunter and angler groups, conservation organizations and tribal
nations will be asked to participate on these teams in the coming

Harold Palmer, president of the New York Conservation Council
said implementing the plan “will improve water and habitat for
non-game species, as well as many other species of fish and
wildlife in New York State. In the long term, this will benefit the
hunters and anglers of New York, who have long been committed
stewards of the state’s natural resources.”

The Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy may be viewed
on DEC’s Web site at:

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