Kansas Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Since more than 97 percent of Kansas’ 82,000 square miles is in the hands of private owners, effective public/private partnerships are crucial to conserving the state’s rich wildlife legacy.

Kansas approached the wildlife action plan as a strategic planning effort, and worked to compile the best information available for assembly into the plan. Species lists were compiled and evaluated according to six criteria for qualification as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need.” The resulting 316 SGCN were then verified and ranked through use of a questionnaire sent both in-house and to known experts throughout the state. Species were also associated with habitats within three conservation regions through the same process. Issues and strategies were then compiled for the top-ranked habitats within conservation regions, starting with those listed in the Kansas Wildlife Diversity Plan. Issues were prioritized.

Wildlife Highlights

Wetlands, such as the internationally acclaimed Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, host a vast array of migratory and resident bird species, making Kansas a must-see birding destination.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in Kansas

From the many perspectives we listened to concerning the future of Kansas’ fish and wildlife, certain themes emerged over and over:

  • Existing data gaps impede effective conservation planning and implementation;
  • Land management practices have changed the structure of habitats over large areas;
  • Fragmentation and conversion of habitat is occurring;
  • Invasive exotic plants and animals are a problem;
  • Natural resource management may affect habitat conditions; and
  • Coordination between government agencies is inadequate, due to potentially conflicting goals for resource management. 

Working Together for Kansas’ Wildlife

Stakeholders were identified through existing Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) constituent and mailing lists. A statewide news release and 175 letters from the Secretary announced the initiation of the planning process, inviting participation from any interested parties. Reports were made at all five KDWP Commission meetings between the initiation of the process and the completion of the final draft. Because these meetings were open to the public, the agenda and outcomes were included in press releases, giving the public notice and the opportunity to participate.

A questionnaire was developed to confirm the selection of SGCN, to rank the species on the level of risk, and to associate them with habitats. This questionnaire was sent to about 200 experts, and posted on the internet. Input was taken for 30 days. 

The process for public input culminated with a Summit Meeting, attended by more than 70 people. Experts and stakeholders were invited, as well as the general public. At this meeting, participants confirmed the information gathered on the questionnaire, prioritized habitat types within conservation regions, and identified top issues and strategies for those habitats.

A web page for the plan was incorporated into the KWDP website, which explained the purpose of the plan and provided background information. As progress was made, the site was updated, adding the SGCN list, the questionnaire, and the draft and final plans.

 

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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