Arizona Game and Fish Department announces 10-year wildlife conservation strategic plan

Jan 18, 2023, 4:05 AM

(Twitter Photo/@azgfd)...

(Twitter Photo/@azgfd)

(Twitter Photo/@azgfd)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department unveiled its wildlife conservation blueprint for the next decade that addressed vulnerable species and habitat protection.

The Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy received input from federal and state agencies, sportsmen groups, conservation organizations, Native American tribes, recreational groups, local governments and private citizens to put together the roadmap. Arizona’s last State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2012.

SWAPs require states to outline actions to “keep common species common” and identify those in need of greater conservation efforts, more than 500 of which are listed. AZGFD’s roadmap addresses eighth elements:

  • Species distribution and abundance
  • Habitat locations and conditions
  • Threats to species and habitat
  • Actions to conserve species and habitat
  • Plan for monitoring effectiveness of actions
  • Procedures for updating the plan
  • Partner involvement
  • Public participation

Arizona’s biodiversity — life that exists in an ecosystem — is among the most diverse in the country. The Grand Canyon State hosts the third-most native bird species of any state, second-most reptiles, fifth-most mammals and nearly 4,000 native plants in 17 major habitat types.

The document singled out 11 challenges to wildlife conservation in the state, a section highlighted by agriculture, development and human intrusion — which all impact habitat loss — as well as climate change and invasive species.

Population growth has boomed in Arizona which puts strain on natural resources, while agriculture uses 72% of of the available water in the state, according to the Department of Water Resources.

The new approach will involve greater emphases on habitat-based conservation to protect the homes of numerous species, including corridors necessary for connectivity. AZGFD also plans to cooperate with agricultural producers to find solutions, acquire land and water rights and continue to raise awareness for the noted threats to biodiversity.

The plan does not have regulatory authority or impose rules on Arizonans.

The work will be partly funded through the federal State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program (SWG), which passed in Congress in 2002. In order to qualify for the grants, states need an approved SWAP with revisions every 10 years.

“Each year SWG funds bring in about $1.3 million to AZGFD, all of it designated for nongame species,” Clay Crowder, AZGFD’s assistant director for wildlife management, said in a press release. “These dollars help fund many conservation efforts, including some of the department’s lesser-known nongame conservation work with the ranid frog program, Gila topminnow reintroduction and grassland bird monitoring.”

For more details, Arizona’s SWAP has interactive web-based version with data, models as well as habitat and species profiles for citizens to explore ways to contribute.

“The AWCS is designed for everyone — from the general public to conservation groups to federal agencies and beyond,” Crowder said. “With increased access to information and data, powerful conservation tools and increased collaboration with our many partners, the AWCS will help meet the challenges that Arizona’s wildlife will face over the next 10 years.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

side by side photos of two businesses that received funding from Valley Metro...

Program provides $1M for Valley businesses impacted by light rail projects

At least $1 million in funding has been given to Valley businesses impacted by construction on light rail projects.

6 hours ago

(ABC15 Arizona File Footage)...

Nicole Grigg/ABC15 Arizona

After 25 years, Cookie Jacobson’s body has still never been found

Cookie Jacobson disappeared from her Tempe home 25 years ago. Her brother is making a plea to the public for possibly the last time for information.

10 hours ago

(ADOT Photo)...

Danny Shapiro

1st year down of massive Interstate 17 improvement project north of metro Phoenix

The first year of construction on a massive Interstate 17 improvement project north of metro Phoenix has been completed.

12 hours ago

Mugshot of Omar Rivas, who was arrested on multiple felony counts, including first-degree murder, o...

Woman dead, man in jail after gunfire erupts during Phoenix home invasion

A woman is dead and a man is in jail after gunfire broke out during an apparent home invasion attempt in south Phoenix early Monday, authorities said.

15 hours ago

man walking along border fence to pick up trash...

With Biden making his way to Arizona, border officials plea for impactful change

As Biden prepares to make his second trip during his presidency to Arizona, border officials are emphasizing the need for change.

16 hours ago


Sponsored Content by Schwartz Laser Eye Center

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

Arizona Game and Fish Department announces 10-year wildlife conservation strategic plan