DEEP: CT-WAP Questions and Answers

Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan

"Creating a vision for the future of wildlife conservation"

Questions and Answers

What is biological diversity, or biodiversity, and how much is there in Connecticut?
Biological diversity is the variety of life and its processes. Biodiversity includes both animals and plants, the genetic variations between them, the ecosystems and communities in which the animals and plants occur, and the ecological processes that sustain them. The Connecticut DEEP maintains an inventory of the state's animals and plants. Connecticut's native fauna (animals) and flora (plants) are comprised of over 2,500 different species, including more than 49 reptile and amphibian species, 46 freshwater and 72 saltwater fish species, 273 bird species, 62 mammal species, 1,823 plant species and thousands of invertebrate species. Six of these species are endemic, or found only in Connecticut. There are 128 ecological community types in Connecticut, each with its own distinct combination of plants and animals.

Why does Connecticut need a Wildlife Action Plan (CT-WAP)?
State wildlife agencies receive wildlife diversity funding from the federal government. As a condition for receiving these funds, Congress required each state wildlife agency to revise their Wildlife Action Plan by October 1, 2015.

Through this effort, the DEEP, with help from conservation partners, reviewed and revised priority conservation actions. These actions will be implemented statewide to prevent more species from becoming endangered, as well as maintain Connecticut's diverse natural landscape for its citizens and wildlife. As part of a nationwide effort to conserve wildlife, this is the most comprehensive program in history. It currently provides funding for critical research, survey, and monitoring efforts that are guided by science. It provides a state-coordinated approach to species and habitat conservation and supports important local and regional conservation efforts involving a wide coalition of citizens and partnerships.

Aren't there other conservation plans already out there?
Over 100 existing conservation plans were identified, located, reviewed and compiled to summarize previously identified species and habitats, and the threats, research needs and conservation actions for each. These plans include those prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regional Fisheries Management Councils, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon and other bird conservation organizations, Partners In Flight, Ducks Unlimited, American Fisheries Society, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and many others. Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan incorporates the goals, needs, and recommendations of many of these plans to reinforce their efforts, avoid redundancy, and maximize collaboration between the state and its many conservation partners.

How will Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan impact game species?
Many of Connecticut's game species benefit from the habitat approach of the CT-WAP project. While this project focuses attention on species of greatest conservation need, implementation of this comprehensive strategy should help meet the conservation needs of all Connecticut's species, including game species.

Who was involved in developing Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan?
The DEEP coordinated with states nationwide on their WAP planning and revision processes and worked with neighboring states on shared objectives. The DEEP also worked with tribal nations within Connecticut, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), numerous non-governmental organizations in Connecticut, and experts from academia and federal natural resource agencies. Working with experts from within the DEEP, the planning team successfully compiled all the data necessary to identify the species and habitats of greatest conservation need in Connecticut.

It was the responsibility of the DEEP's Bureau of Natural Resources Wildlife Division to oversee development of the Plan. To ensure that the Plan is useful to many organizations, it includes broad input from the public and stakeholders. The process encourages public participation and has already incorporated the comments of several conservation organizations, academic experts, tribes, government agencies, businesses, and landowners.

How will Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan influence current non-governmental conservation organizations?
CT-WAP identifies the key priorities for wildlife conservation in Connecticut. The plan is based on a statewide analysis of the distribution and abundance of species of greatest conservation need, their habitats, and the threats to their continued existence. Individual conservation actions to address the threats identified in the plan are described, with recommendations on how to implement each. CT-WAP will be useful to conservation partners because it incorporates existing conservation plans already developed by many of these organizations. Existing partnerships will be strengthened and new opportunities identified.

How will Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan impact private landowners?
Many landowners are practicing good land stewardship and are already involved in conservation programs. This Plan provides interested landowners with additional opportunities to participate in conservation programs and informs other landowners about existing and new conservation programs available to conserve both the economic productivity and fish and wildlife resources of their properties. The CT-WAP identifies opportunities for public and private landowners to collaborate with state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, and others to achieve mutual goals to conserve Connecticut's natural and cultural heritage.

Did Connecticut work with other states?
Yes, Connecticut coordinated its Wildlife Action Plan with other states in the Northeast and beyond. Because fish and wildlife distributions do not follow political boundaries, Connecticut collaborated with adjacent states to reduce redundancy and ensure the regional needs of wildlife are addressed. All of the states are coordinating with each other through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which holds regular meetings so the states can share information and resources.

As an outdoor enthusiast, how does Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan benefit me?
Almost 1.5 million Connecticut citizens participate in wildlife-recreation, spending over one-half billion dollars each year. The CT-WAP helps insure that Connecticut has stable and sustainable fish and wildlife populations for generations to come. Outdoor wildlife and recreation activities contribute hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the Connecticut economy, from catching fresh seafood at the coast to hiking the Appalachian Trail. The CT-WAP will enhance the future of bird watching, hunting, angling, boating, camping, and hiking activities throughout Connecticut.

What is in Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan?
Each of the eight elements required by the U.S. Congress are addressed in Connecticut’s Wildlife Action Plan. Those elements are identified as:

  1. Information on the distribution and abundance of species of wildlife, including low and declining populations as the State fish and wildlife agency deems appropriate, that are indicative of the diversity and health of the State’s wildlife; and, 
  2. Descriptions of locations and relative condition of key habitats and community types essential to conservation of species identified in (1); and, 
  3. Descriptions of problems which may adversely affect species identified in (1) or their habitats, and priority research and survey efforts needed to identify factors which may assist in restoration and improved conservation of these species and habitats; and, 
  4. Descriptions of conservation actions proposed to conserve the identified species and habitats, and priorities for implementing such actions; and, 
  5. Proposed plans for monitoring species identified in (1) and their habitats, for monitoring the effectiveness of the conservation actions proposed in (4), and for adapting these conservation actions to respond appropriately to new information or changing conditions; and, 
  6. Descriptions of procedures to review the strategy at intervals not to exceed 10 years; and,
  7. Plans for coordinating the development, implementation, review, and revision of the plan with Federal, State, and local agencies and Indian tribes that manage significant land and water areas within the State or administer programs that significantly affect the conservation of identified species and habitats. 
  8. Congress also affirmed through this legislation that broad public participation is an essential element of developing and implementing these plans and  the projects that are carried out while these plans are developed.

Where can I get more information?
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has created these web pages to distribute updates on the Wildlife Action Plan and solicit your input. If you would like additional information, please contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011, or submit an email request to deep.wildlifeactionplan@ct.gov.

Content last updated February 29, 2016.