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Draft of State Wildlife Action Plan Available For Public Comment

From the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: 
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in conjunction with a broad spectrum of partner organizations, has created a draft state wildlife action plan that is now posted on the department’s website and open for public comment.

Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan identifies practical and voluntary opportunities to conserve Maine’s most vulnerable fish and wildlife, while emphasizing that landowner and public participation is essential for wildlife conservation. Yesterday, July 13 marked the beginning of a 30-day opportunity for Maine citizens to review the action plan and provide comment. You can view the document at www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/MWAP2015.html.

The draft is a collaboration of IFW and 102 conservation partners — representatives from federal, state, local, tribal, and public organizations – who over the past 18 months have identified species and habitats in the greatest need of conservation, the factors negatively impacting these species and their habitats, and potential conservation opportunities that citizens, partner organizations, and agencies could undertake to address these issues.

The partners completed their review in June, and based upon their feedback, IFW, with state agency partners prepared the first draft of the action plan, which will help guide the conservation of rare and vulnerable fish and wildlife from 2015 – 2025.

States must have an approved Wildlife Action Plan to be eligible to participate in the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS approved Maine’s initial Wildlife Action Plan in the summer of 2005. Since then, Maine has accomplished over 50 research, management, and conservation projects, benefitting brook trout, rare freshwater mussels, dragonflies, migrant birds such as Bicknell’s Thrush and Black-throated blue Warbler, and globally rare species, such as the Tomah mayfly. Puffins, wood turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, little brown bats and bumble bees are also recognizable species that have benefitted from Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan. IFW must submit the updated action plan to the USFWS by October 2015 for Maine to remain eligible for SWG funds.

Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action plan is not solely a plan for IFW; rather, it is a cooperative fish and wildlife conservation strategy for the entire state and all Maine’s citizens and visitors. IFW encourages the public to review the 2015 action plan. Comments and suggestions from citizens will ensure that it reflects the values and priorities of Maine’s people.