Habitat Conservation

Working with States

Defenders of Wildlife helped create the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program (SWG) to encourage proactive wildlife conservation by federal agencies, state agencies and Indian tribes. Congress designates approximately $68 million in funding grants to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all 6 U.S. territories each year to help the states develop biodiversity conservation programs that will prevent species from becoming endangered.

State Wildlife Action Plans

Because the amount each state wildlife agency receives each year is not enough to meet all of its conservation goals, Defenders encouraged Congress to require each state to create a comprehensive wildlife conservation plan, also known as a State Wildlife Action Plan. These plans aim to identify the highest priority conservation needs and help coordinate conservation action within and between government and other organizations.

Defenders commented on every state plan as it was being written, and in some states our field staff actively participated in the development of the State Wildlife Action Plan. Today, every state and territory has completed a plan and they are required to update them by 2015. Part of that update is to include the impacts of climate change. Defenders is working in key states (Florida, California, Oregon and North Carolina) to provide guidance on incorporating climate change and to promote a national standard of practice for climate change adaptation planning for wildlife.

More on Habitat Conservation: Success Stories »

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Sonoran Pronghorn,  © Mark Milburn
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With an oblong face and a black nose splotch, the Sonoran pronghorn stands out against the cacti-strewn landscape of the American Southwest.
Sage-grouse, © Tatiana Gettelman
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In the rugged, open scrublands of east-central Montana lives the sage-grouse, a plucky bird that once thrived across the sagebrush sea. Today, however, the population is plummeting from habitat loss.
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Ignoring the lessons learned from unsustainable clear-cutting in the 1970s and 1980s, Oregon politicians are pushing legislation that would dramatically accelerate logging in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.