June 5, 2015

10-Year Plan to Target Conservation Actions for Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Their Habitats

The proposed State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) to protect rare and declining wildlife species is now available for public comment, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The deadline for comment is Friday, July 17.

"The State Wildlife Action Plan will help guide DEC's work to protect and restore wildlife, and ensure that these precious natural resources are conserved for future generations," said Commissioner Martens. "The SWAP is a ten-year plan to protect rare and declining wildlife species that is being developed to update the 2005 Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. At the upcoming meetings, DEC staff and conservation partners will present projects carried out through the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy to conserve species of conservation need and propose actions that all of us can do to help protect these species."

The draft ten-year plan identifies 366 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in New York that need conservation actions to thrive. Such species include moose, least tern, northern diamond-backed terrapin, eastern spadefoot toad, lake sturgeon, barndoor skate, humpback whale, brook snaketail and barrens buckmoth. Of those 366, there are 167 species that are identified as high priority SGCN, including little brown bats, spruce grouse, Blanding's turtle, queen snake, American eel, sauger, winter flounder, horseshoe crab, dwarf wedgemussel and American bumblebee. An additional 113 species are seen as possibly needing conservation actions, including least weasel, mink frog, tiger shark, Scotia sallfly, and monarch butterfly. Surveys will help determine their current population status.

To update the draft SWAP, DEC staff and conservation partners assessed the current status of 597 rare and declining species in New York. The assessment included the location and condition of habitats where the species live, threats to the populations and conservation actions to help maintain healthy populations. The most common threats to these species are loss of habitat, pollution, invasive species and climate change. Recommended conservation actions include protection and restoration of habitat, management of SGCN populations and monitoring to maintain current data on SGCN.

DEC will hold public information sessions throughout the state in June to present the draft plan and accept public comment. The schedule of public information meetings to present the draft plan is listed below:

New York City Federal Office Building, 90 Church Street, Manhattan June 10 2-4 PM
Setauket Childs Mansion, 19 Shore Drive, direction to Childs Mansion (PDF, 187 KB)
June 11 5:30-7:30 PM
Buffalo Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve June 16 3-5 PM
Avon DEC Region 8 Office June 17 3-5 PM
Syracuse Martha Eddy Room, NYS Fairgrounds June 18 7-9 PM
Potsdam SUNY Potsdam, 8th Floor, Raymond Hall June 19 2-4 PM
New Paltz DEC Region 3 Office June 23 2-4 PM
Albany Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center, New Karner Road June 24 6-9 PM
Ray Brook DEC Region 5 Office June 29 2-4 PM

The draft SWAP is available on the NYSDEC website.

For more information related to the SWAP, contact Joe Racette at (518) 402-8933 or Comments should be sent to or mailed to Joe Racette, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233. The deadline for comment is Friday, July 17, 2015.