State will revisit plan to protect wildlife
The state Department of Environmental Management recently announced the revision process of its 2015 wildlife action plan. Over the next two years, DEM and its partners will work with wildlife experts and other key stakeholders in the region to develop a comprehensive plan for conservation.
The proactive plan will assess Rhode Island’s wildlife and natural places, identify the problems they face, and outline actions needed to conserve them over the long term. The health of wildlife is often an early indicator of disease and pollution that affect humans. The plan will also focus on protecting clean water and air.
By updating the plan, DEM also qualifies for millions in matching funds from a federal grant program established in 2000 to support conservation of non-game species and their habitats. Every 10 years, each state must develop a plan to conserve wildlife before they become rarer and more costly to protect.
For the 2015 revision, a unique partnership has been formed between the DEM and the Rhode Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy to leverage financial resources and staff expertise. This effort is further enhanced by the University of Rhode Island, which will provide technical assistance as a key member of the core team.
The plan aims to reassess priority species and habitats, as well as develop mapping and information for conservation opportunity areas. The plan will analyze threats affecting fish and wildlife, including those most vulnerable to habitat loss, population growth and climate change. Importantly, conservation actions to address or alleviate these threats and effectively conserve Rhode Island’s valuable wildlife resources will also be developed by scientists, sportsmen, conservationists and members of the community.