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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Approves N.C. Wildlife Action Plan

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2005

Contacts: Russell Wong, (919) 662-4777 russell.wong@ncwildlife.org
Tom MacKenzie, (404) 679-7291 tom_mackenzie@fws.gov



RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 12) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission last week became the first state fish and wildlife agency in the nation to receive approval for its Wildlife Action Plan — a long-term strategy to conserve fish, wildlife and natural areas across the state to enhance wildlife populations and the quality of life for North Carolinians.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the N.C. Wildlife Action Plan, which makes North Carolina eligible to receive federal funds beginning in fiscal year 2006 through the State Wildlife Grants program. From 2001-2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service gave North Carolina more than $6.1 million under this grant program.

“Fish and wildlife resources in North Carolina will benefit greatly from the strategic thinking and science-based planning that went into this wildlife action plan,” said acting Service Director Matt Hogan. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to work in partnership with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission as it implements its plan and works to keep species from requiring Endangered Species Act protection.”

North Carolina is the first state in this national historic effort. State fish and wildlife agencies across the country are developing similar rigorous, science-based plans to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

Wildlife Commission biologists will use money from State Wildlife Grants to support research and management that benefit fish, wildlife and their habitats. The funds primarily will be dedicated to the conservation of a wide variety of non-game animals, including:

  • robust redhorse, a rare fish found in North Carolina only in the Yadkin/Pee Dee River system,
  • northern flying squirrels, which inhabit high-elevation forests in the southern Appalachians,
  • peregrine falcons, which nest on rocky cliffs and outcroppings,
  • Northern pine snakes, which live only in three small, disconnected areas of the state due to habitat loss,
  • Eastern box turtles, North Carolina’s state reptile, which can be found statewide for now, and
  • gopher frogs, which breed in temporary ponds that can be found in longleaf pine forests.

Congress in May 2002 required each state fish and game agency in the United States to develop its own wildlife action plan by October 2005 to remain eligible for federal funding through the State Wildlife Grants program.

The N.C. Wildlife Action Plan exceeds 600 pages and took three years to produce. It has been posted on the Wildlife Commission’s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org, in sections that can be downloaded and saved as PDF files. The Wildlife Commission developed its plan in collaboration with scientists, sportsmen and other conservation partners across the state, including the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, the Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy.

“If we invest in conserving wildlife and natural areas now, we can protect these areas for future generations,” said Salinda Daley, who coordinated the N.C. Wildlife Action Plan. “The proactive nature of the plan will benefit the health of wildlife and people, and conserve wildlife before they become more rare and more costly to protect.”

For more information about wildlife in North Carolina or its action plan, visit the Web sites of the Wildlife Commission (www.ncwildlife.org), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (www.fws.gov), International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (www.iafwa.org) or Teaming with Wildlife Initiative (www.teaming.com).Cleaner air and water. Healthier wildlife and people.

[Media Note: High-resolution photographs suitable for publication are available with the online version of this news release on the Wildlife Commission’s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org.]


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast or http://www.fws.gov/.



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