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A Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy for . · PDF file Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Wyoming, and will address the unmet needs for a diverse array of wildlife and associated

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  • A Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Wyoming

    Prepared by: Wyoming Game and Fish Department

    5400 Bishop Blvd. Cheyenne, Wyoming 82006

    Approved By the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission

    July 12, 2005

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    This document represents the work of many people, both within and outside the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. While the list of all those who made A Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Wyoming possible are too numerous to mention here, the editors wish to acknowledge the work of the following contributors: Gary Beauvais, Aaron Bronson, Andrea Cerovski, Holly Copeland, Mark Fowden, Martin Grenier, Dirk Miller, Sharon Nicholoff, Kirk Nordyke, Bob Oakleaf, Dennis Oberlie, Susan Patla, Reg Rothwell, Bill Turner, Steve Wolff, Laurie VanFleet, Nyssa Whitford, Chris Burkett, and Walt Gasson. State Wildlife Grant (SWG) funds were used to create this Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and its partners wish to express their appreciation for this federal funding.

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    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    The Wyoming State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) was produced to provide a long-range conservation plan to conserve Wyoming’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and meet the requirements of the Congressionally-authorized State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) served as the lead agency in the development of this strategy, but many other partners and major stakeholders were invited to participate. The CWCS identifies 279 SGCN in Wyoming, along with key habitats for these species. Of these species, 44 have been included because of specific known conservation needs. The remaining 235 have been included primarily due to a lack of key data necessary to assess their conservation status. Key habitats for these species have been identified. Threats or challenges are identified, and the proposed actions to conserve the SGCN and their associated habitats are addressed. Monitoring measures are also identified. This strategy will guide conservation decisions in Wyoming for the next five years. It will be updated in 2010. A broad range of stakeholders reviewed the CWCS and their comments were incorporated. A total of seven public meetings were held in Wyoming to present the CWCS, and extensive outreach efforts were designed to inform the public of its development and to encourage their participation in the process.

    PURPOSE

    In the United States of America, most of the authority and responsibility for fish and wildlife conservation is vested with the states. For over 50 years, state fish and wildlife agencies have worked, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and the Federal Aid to Sport Fish Restoration Act to conserve and properly manage certain species of fish and wildlife. Populations of many species, especially species that are pursued for food, sport, or for their fur have been restored and continue to thrive as a result of the investigations, habitat protection and management supported by these federal aid programs.

    Yet, for most states, including Wyoming, the ability to conserve and properly manage the vast majority of species has been impossible because of inadequate funding. In recognition of these unmet needs, Congress provided funds to the states through Title IX of the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Act of 2000 (CJS). These funds were to have been administered as a sub-account in the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration fund to be known as the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Account. Wyoming enhanced its wildlife stewardship, wildlife- associated education and wildlife-associated recreation under this program. Still, the scope and duration of funding were only sufficient to provide a beginning. With the passage of Public Law 107-63 in 2001, and the establishment of the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program, Wyoming has the opportunity to develop a comprehensive program of conservation devoted to species with the greatest conservation need. This program will be guided by this document, A Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Wyoming, and will address the unmet needs for a diverse array of wildlife and associated habitats of species with the greatest conservation need.

    There are over 800 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mollusks and crustaceans in Wyoming over which the WGFD has statutory authority (W.S. 23-1-101 (a) (xiii)). These are

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    the only species that have been considered in the development of this strategy. Many of these species are those that have the least available data concerning their status, distribution and habitats. Funding for nongame species, native fishes, reptiles and amphibians is inadequate. To address this need, Wyoming has initiated efforts under the SWG program to collect needed data.

    The CWCS provides a foundation for Wyoming’s future efforts in the conservation of all wildlife. The species and habitats identified here, along with the associated challenges and conservation actions, will define the focus of cooperative efforts to conserve and manage all Wyoming’s wildlife. Granted, this is an endeavor that is both grand in scope and daunting in complexity. But it is an endeavor worthy of efforts by all the citizens of Wyoming, and all those who care about Wyoming’s wildlife and wild places. The intent of this CWCS is to serve as a central “hub” for all existing and future management plans and conservation strategies in Wyoming, and to guide the combined efforts of government agencies at all levels, non-profits, academia, non-governmental organizations, tribes and individuals to conserve all Wyoming’s wildlife for future generations. Coordination with these stakeholders and partners is vital to the success of the Wyoming CWCS. Continued coordination may prove even more vital in the future. Appendix I lists the stakeholders who were contacted for input or otherwise invited to participate during CWCS development. Many of these stakeholders provided crucial feedback and important information.

    ROADMAP TO THE EIGHT ELEMENTS

    The Wyoming CWCS has been designed to be reader and reviewer friendly. As such, the sections of the CWCS have been designed to correspond directly with the eight required elements noted below. Table 1 below summarizes the location of information on each of the elements. Table 1. Location of the required eight elements in the Wyoming CWCS. Required Elements Sections in

    Wyoming CWCS

    Pages

    1. Information on the distribution and abundance of species of wildlife, including low and declining populations as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department deems appropriate, that are indicative of the diversity and health of Wyoming’s wildlife.

    1. Species of Greatest Conservation Need

    7-19

    2. Descriptions of the locations and relative condition of key habitats and community types essential to conservation of species identified in Element #1.

    2. Key Habitats 20-35

    3. Descriptions of problems which may adversely affect species identified in Element #1 or their habitats, and priority research and survey efforts needed to identify factors which may assist in restoration and improved conservation of these species and habitats.

    3. Challenges 36-72

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    4. Descriptions of conservation actions proposed to conserve the identified species and habitats, and priorities for implementing such actions.

    4. Conservation Actions

    73-110

    5. Proposed plans for monitoring species identified in Element #1 and their habitats, for monitoring the effectiveness of the conservations actions proposed in Element #4, and for adapting these conservation actions to respond appropriately to new information or changing conditions.

    5. Monitoring 111-116

    6. Descriptions of procedures to review the Wyoming CWCS at intervals not to exceed ten years.

    6. Review and Updates

    117-118

    7. Plans for coordinating the development, implementation, review and revision of the Wyoming CWCS with federal, state and local agencies and Indian tribes that manage significant land and water areas within the state or administer programs that significantly affect the conservation of identified species and habitats.

    7. Partnerships and Coordination

    119-122

    8.An effective public participation process.

    8. Public Participation

    123-125

    In addition, the Wyoming CWCS includes an extensive Literature Cited section and

    seven important appendices: Appendix I – Partners and Major Stakeholders in the Wyoming CWCS

    Appendix II – Species Accounts Appendix III – Habitat Type Descriptions Appendix IV – Habitat Quality and Protection Assessment of Wyoming’s

    Ecological System Appendix V – Application of a Modified Index of Centers of Density to Four Drainages within the Missouri River Drainage,

    Wyoming Appendix VI – Monitoring of Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes, Mollusks and

    Crustaceans Appendix VII – Monitoring of Birds and Mammals Appendix VIII - Coordination Appendix IX - Public Participation

    COORDINATION WITH PARTNERS

    The development of this CWCS would not have been possible without the involvement

    of numerous part

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