South Carolina Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

South Carolina’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy emphasizes a cooperative, proactive approach to conservation. Expert review helped to identify the current needs of wildlife in South Carolina. These needs translate into conservation actions that can cross multiple scales, with treatments recommended at the species, habitat and regional level. The result is a guide to conserving the 1,240 species of fish and wildlife that have immediate conservation needs or are key indicators of the diversity and health of the state’s wildlife. Public and partner review then helps turn these conservation recommendations into actions.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in South Carolina

As we evaluated the challenges to wildlife species and habitats in our state, eight recurring conservation action areas were identified, including: education and outreach; habitat protection; invasive and nonnative species; private land programs; public land management; regulatory actions; survey and research needs; and urban and developing lands. All of South Carolina’s 62 priority actions to address problems and issues fall within these conservation action areas.

Although there are many issues surrounding conservation of wildlife in South Carolina, three challenges were identified for many species and habitats throughout the state: loss and degradation of habitat, invasive and nonnative species, and lack of knowledge about many of our priority species.

As land use shifts from rural to urban, this changing landscape affects the ability of wildlife to thrive.

The presence of invasive and nonnative species can result in direct and indirect problems to native wildlife. Through direct competition, habitat destruction, inbreeding and other impacts, nonnative plants and animals present a major challenge to South Carolina’s wildlife species.

The lack of knowledge about natural history, diversity, abundance and range of many of our priority species also represents a significant challenge in South Carolina. Without a good understanding of all characteristics of wildlife, it is extremely difficult to help temper the changing landscape in the interest of conserving priority species.

Working Together for South Carolina’s Wildlife

From the beginning of the CWCS effort, South Carolina’s planning team sought to realize successful partnerships and public involvement in the development of the strategy. Representatives from partner groups were invited to share their ideas with the planning team through focus groups. These partner organizations included Federal and state agencies, tribal councils, conservation organizations and non-governmental groups such as local and county planners, developers and other professionals interested in the fate of conservation in South Carolina. Additionally, the Department of Natural Resources gathered information from South Carolina’s citizens through a series of public meetings that were conducted throughout the state. These meetings allowed people to present their ideas on wildlife priorities and issues of concern. As conservation actions were being developed, the SCDNR worked with partners to identify methods for conserving wildlife in several of our conservation action areas. As we move from planning to acting, these same partners will help set priorities and methods for realizing our conservation goals.

 

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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