New resource for nongame species management

PRATT - For many years, KDWP has used funds from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration acts - derived from taxes on hunting ammunition, firearms, fishing tackle, and boating fuel and gear - to manage those species that are hunted or fished. These funds are also available to provide outdoor recreation access and educational programs. Funds available through the Endangered Species Act have been used for federally listed species, such as the bald eagle and black-footed ferret.

However, most of Kansas' wildlife fall in neither of these categories and have not been eligible for funding. Nonetheless, many of these species have declined dramatically over the past 50 years due to large scale changes in habitat. These "common" species are in need of study and a concerted effort to keep them from becoming rare or endangered.

In response to this issue, the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program (WCRP) was passed by Congress in 2001. In 2002, similar funds were made available through the State Wildlife Grants Program.

Funds from both these programs can now be used for all wildlife and will enable the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) to fund studies and projects to keep rare species from becoming endangered and to keep common species common. WCRP and State Wildlife Grant appropriations have been made available for federal fiscal years 2001-2004. This year, Kansas' allotment is $905,720.

To be eligible for these funds, each state and territory must develop a Statewide Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan (CWCP) by Oct. 1, 2005. The plan will address eight specific elements, as follow:

  1. information on the distribution and abundance of species of wildlife, including low and declining populations;
  2. descriptions of locations and relative condition of key habitats and community types essential to conservation of species identified;
  3. descriptions of problems which may adversely affect species identified or their habitats, and priority research and survey needed to identify factors that may assist in restoration and improved conservation of these species and habitats;
  4. descriptions of conservation actions proposed to conserve the identified species and habitats and priorities for implementing such actions;
  5. proposed plans for monitoring species identified and their habitats for effectiveness of the conservation actions proposed and for adapting these conservation actions to respond to new information or changing conditions;
  6. descriptions of procedures to review the strategy at intervals not to exceed 10 years;
  7. plans for coordinating the development, implementation, review, and revision of the plan 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; and
  8. broad public participation in developing and implementing these plans, the projects that are carried out while these plans are developed, and the identifying the species in greatest need of conservation.

Public participation will play a large role in the formulation of this plan. KWDP invites any input, questions, and comments. For more information, CLICK HERE