Draft Virginia Wildlife Action Plan available

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is in the process of updating its Virginia Wildlife Action Plan, which serves as a framework to keep species from becoming endangered.

Chris Burkett, Wildlife Action Plan coordinator with DGIF, spoke to the Commonwealth Regional Council’s (CRC) Chief Administrative Officers Committee on Aug. 25 to provide an overview of the plan and solicit feedback.

The plan is required under a wildlife grant the state receives from the federal government.

The original plan was completed in 2005, and must be updated every 10 years.

Burkett said the format of the plan is based on the format of the Virginia Outdoors Plan, with information given statewide and broken out by planning district.

The document contains a list of species of greatest conservation need (according to Burkett, there are 884 in the state) and local, actionable priorities. Burkett said habitat loss is the biggest threat in Virginia, with rivers, wetlands, caves and beaches among the most important areas.

For Planning District 14, the plan identifies 86 species — with 41 of those being local priorities.

Once the draft plan has been reviewed by the DGIF Board, it will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval.