DNR prepares fish, wildlife management plan

In order to remain eligible for funding under two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant programs and provide a framework for comprehensive fish and wildlife conservation and management in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, together with many partners, has drafted updates to the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan and the Wildlife Action Plan.

While together these plans make up the department’s vision for the management of Wisconsin’s fish, wildlife and habitat over the next ten years, they are two separate plans with different federal requirements and comment periods. Each plan is currently in draft form and available for public review and comment through Aug. 21, 2015 - visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “wap10year” to submit feedback.

The Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan is required to be eligible to receive funding under the federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act grant programs. The primary purpose of the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan is to provide guidance and direction regarding the use of grant funds and required state matching funds under the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Grant programs. This plan provides a general framework for the department’s fish, wildlife and habitat conservation, management and recreation programs. Goals, objectives and strategies are included that address: sport fish, associated habitat, aquatic education and boating access; wild birds and mammals and associated habitat; and hunter education and shooting range construction. Comments on the draft Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan can be submitted via email to DNRFishWildlifePlan@ wisconsin. gov.

The Wildlife Action Plan is required to remain eligible for the federal State Wildlife Grants Program, which provides federal grant funds for native wild animals, including species not hunted or fished. Funds must be used to benefit species of greatest conservation need and their habitats as described in each state’s plan. The plan includes voluntary actions that can be used to guide restoration and rare species management. All wildlife action plans must include the following elements: native wildlife species with low or declining populations and their habitatsandactionstoaddressthem; measures to monitor native wildlife species with low or declining populations and the effectiveness of conservation actions; and collaboration with other government agencies, stakeholders and the general public. Comments on the draft Wildlife Action Plan can be submitted via email to DNRWWAP@wisconsin. gov.

In addition to public comment periods for each plan, two additional public participation methods were used to further engage the public and solicit comments as the plans were developed, including a series of eight community meetings and a questionnaire to help identify issues of concern related to fish, wildlife and habitat conservation and management.

Feedback received at public meetings and more than 10,000 questionnaire responses played a key role in shaping each draft plan.

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