Indiana Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Indiana’s Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy provides an overview of conservation in Indiana and identifies needs and opportunities for helping to prevent species from becoming threatened or endangered in the future.

As habitat loss is the biggest threat to Indiana wildlife, the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife considered a habitat-based approach the most efficient way to address the needs of the widest variety of species. A habitat-based approach also avoids the polarization among interest groups that can accompany single-species conservation efforts.

Traditional Federal funding and even endangered species funding tends to limit the areas and types of habitat-associated activities that qualify for grants. The Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and the State Wildlife Grant legislation (which initiated the CWS process) make funds available for habitat work.

The CWS also includes information on the conservation organizations currently working to address specific conservation needs and areas where interests overlap, creating the potential for partnerships.

Management

Since most of Indiana’s land and water resources are privately owned, wildlife conservation in Indiana must be a joint effort between public agencies and private land managers.

Wildlife Highlights

Recovering populations of otters, bald eagles and nesting osprey once again inhabit Indiana’s streams, rivers and lakes.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in Indiana

Wildlife experts, surveyed via a detailed questionnaire, identified protection of large blocks of habitat required by species with extensive home ranges and species dependent on large, undisturbed areas – a key challenge in conserving Indiana’s wildlife. Finding successful ways to engage private landholders also emerged as a significant challenge.

Wildlife conservation challenges also include development, land use changes, competition, contamination and climate change. Experts strongly supported protecting migration routes and managing populations of common species as methods for conserving wildlife populations.

Working Together for Indiana’s Wildlife

While developing Indiana’s strategy, the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife focused most of its resources on communicating with potential partners with vested interests in the plan. Many partners communicate directly with community members that share an interest in conservation. Organizations distributed solicitations for public comment via their newsletters, websites, listservs and meetings.

To reach community members with no active interest in conservation, the Division distributed a news release through the Wild Bulletin, soliciting public input on the final draft version of the CWS. Wild Bulletin reaches more than 10,000 recipients, including most media outlets in the state. A presentation at the annual meeting of the Hoosier Outdoor Writers organization led to publication of several newspaper articles about the CWS around the state.

The Division developed a database of all partners able and willing to communicate about the plan, and will continue to utilize these communication channels to involve the public in implementing and revising the CWS.

 

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies represents all of North America’s fish and wildlife agencies, promotes sound management and conservation, and speaks with a unified voice on important fish and wildlife issues.

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