“Wildlife needs help now more than ever,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans.
That’s why the Game and Fish and Boat Commissions have launched the new Conservation Opportunity Area Tool, a free, innovative, and interactive web-based map that puts features of the 2015-2025 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan at your fingertips.
“With 664 Species of Greatest Conservation Need across the state, 109 of which are birds and mammals, everyone can do something to support these species. We are excited to deliver this Wildlife Action Plan information in a user-friendly way.”
The Wildlife Action Plan is the Commonwealth’s proactive, non-regulatory blueprint for addressing the needs of imperiled and declining species, referred to as Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
This tool was designed to support conservation planning and guide implementation of conservation actions to support these at-risk species.
The Conservation Opportunity Area Tool is free, though users must first register and accept the terms and conditions. It will be helpful for a variety of users wanting to know more about what to do for Species of Greatest Conservation Need on their property, or those just curious about what is in an area.
From rural to urban areas, forests to streams, the Action Plan includes information that may be helpful to users with either a specific purpose such as conservation planning, or those interested in learning more about a species, habitat, or conservation actions.
The tool has several features including a Map function with which users can draw an area on a map and, with a few simple steps, produce a report with a list of the species and related conservation actions.
Users can also produce a list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need in a county or major watershed, or develop a list of counties or watersheds where a species occurs.
PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer said, “The Conservation Opportunity Area Tool will support conservation planning and implementation by making information in the Wildlife Action Plan more readily available to a broad range of users including resource managers, conservation partners, and interested public. With all of us working together we can be optimistic for the outcomes in the challenges of protecting and recovering Pennsylvania’s imperiled aquatic species.”
Importantly, the Conservation Opportunity Area Tool is not intended for environmental project review purposes. Activities requiring Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) reviews must be conducted through Pennsylvania Conservation Explorer.
It’s the most comprehensive database of Wildlife Action Plan species ever compiled in Pennsylvania, though for some species, especially invertebrates, location information may be limited or unavailable, and not all wildlife species are represented; only species which have met specific criteria for imperilment or are declining.
State Wildlife Action Plans have been developed by each state and U.S. territory in response to 2001 Congressional requirements for receiving State and Tribal Wildlife Grant funding administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Visit the Conservation Opportunity Area Tool webpage for all the details.