In the early years of fish and wildlife management, the focus was placed on game animals and their habitats. This focus was, and continues to be, a result of hunters and anglers providing most of an agency's funding through purchasing hunting and fishing licenses.
Without reducing the attention focused on important game species, it is FWP's duty to also manage for hundreds of other species and their habitats. The problem is, however, funds to manage other species are very limited.
To help address the conservation needs of other wildlife species, in 2000 Congress created the State Wildlife Grant (SWG) funding program. SWG funds are intended "... for the development and implementation of programs for the benefit of wildlife and their habitat, including species that are not hunted or fished." Congress stipulated that each state and territory that wished to participate in the SWG funding program must develop a State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) by October 1, 2005. All 56 states and territories submitted SWAPs by the deadline and made commitments to review and perhaps revise their SWAP every 10 years.
Montana's SWAP, the Comprehensive Fish and Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CFWCS), was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in January 2006. Montana is one of many states that will be reviewing and revising its SWAP sooner than the 10 year requirement. Montana will submit a revised SWAP by December 2013.
FWP is the lead agency responsible for reviewing and revising Montana's SWAP. Technical teams - including FWP staff from every region, and individuals representing other state agencies, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - are just beginning the revision process. These teams are charged with reviewing the CFWCS and revising the document based on new or better information to meet Montana's needs for the next 10 years.
The revision will include updating the Species of Greatest Conservation Need list; identifying species, areas, and habitats to properly focus funding; and a preparing a complete threats analysis for habitats in the state.
For more information, please contact FWP's project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check the Conservation in Action webpage for progress updates and for opportunities to provide comments.