U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves new Wildlife Action Plan for Pennsylvania


Times Leader

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 (USFWS).

The 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 (PFBC) and Game Commission remain eligible for federal funding through the State Wildlife Grant Program.

“The Service is confident that the plan will yield great benefits for the conservation of Pennsylvania’s fish and wildlife resources,” said James W. Kurth, USFWS Deputy Director for Operations via press release. “We look forward to working with you as you implement it.”

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 the 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, the plan is a road map for all Pennsylvanians interested in wildlife conservation.

“Our new plan keeps us on the course we charted for wildlife conservation a decade ago,” said R. Matthew Hough, Game Commission executive director via press release. “But making progress and protecting imperiled species in the face of mounting development and environmental problems will not be easy. It will take a greater commitment from more Pennsylvanians and more funding for wildlife to stay the course.

“Pennsylvania now finds itself in a conservation conundrum: the state’s resource agencies are in trouble financially,” explained Hough. “Although this plan outlines how best to help our species of greatest conservation need and prevent species from becoming endangered, resource agencies will need teamwork from the public and legislative assistance to ensure we can stay as proactive as we must.”

PFBC Executive Director John Arway added that “this plan builds upon the strong foundation and many collaborative efforts under the first plan. Implementing this plan will continue to advance our knowledge of Pennsylvania’s species and their habitats so we can develop the most informed management recommendations to secure species now and for the future.

“The plan will produce benefits for all fish and wildlife species that occupy similar habitats,” he added. “For example, improving wetlands to support bog turtles will benefit base flows in adjacent streams which support native fish species like Brook Trout.

“We live in a dynamic environment and this plan is our guide for conservation in the years ahead.”

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Times Leader

Reach Tom Venesky at 570-991-6395 or on Twitter @TomVenesky

Reach Tom Venesky at 570-991-6395 or on Twitter @TomVenesky

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