Montana Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Montana’s Comprehensive Fish and Wildlife Conservation Strategy is an extensive analysis of more than 600 species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mussels along with the places they live. The Strategy sets out to identify critical habitats for both species in need of conservation and species that are doing well. The Strategy consists of four components: geographic focus areas, fish and wildlife community types, species of greatest conservation need, and species in need of inventory. 

Focus areas have been identified as geographic starting points for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and its partners to direct combined efforts to conserve Montana’s community types and species in greatest conservation need.

Wildlife Highlights

With over 90 million acres of land, 40,000 lakes and ponds, and 98,000 miles of named streams and rivers, Montana has been called “The Last Best Place.” Over 600 vertebrate species are known to exist across the state’s diverse landscapes, and Montana’s hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are the basis of outdoor traditions for thousands of people.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in Montana

Montana’s action plan identifies conservation concerns for all components of the strategy: 30 focus areas, seven community types, and 60 species in greatest conservation need.

Each conservation concern identified has at least one or multiple conservation strategies accompanying it that could be implemented on the ground. The hope is to put the strategies into action in cooperation with conservation organizations, landowners and others, in order to address the conservation concerns proactively before they become an issue requiring regulatory action.

Working Together for Montana’s Wildlife

An advisory group consisting of state and Federal agencies, tribes, industries, conservation organizations and other interest groups met to discuss the development of Montana’s action plan. These groups, along with FWP staff and the general public, were involved in review of the draft action plan before it was submitted for Federal approval.

Seven meetings were held around the state to review the draft strategy and provide comments. About 45 people attended, representing more than 25 different organizations, along with private landowners and interested citizens. Webpages were developed with online comment forms to facilitate action plan review as well. Comments were received on all sections of the draft action plan.

Montana FWP also developed and has begun implementing a communications plan in cooperation with groups like Montana Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and others to increase awareness, understanding and involvement in comprehensive conservation.

The advisory group reconvened to help develop selection criteria that will be applied to the action plan to determine conservation priorities for the next five years. Subsequent meetings in each region of the state will involve other partner groups and will focus on developing cooperative projects that comply with identified conservation priorities.

 

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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