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Public meeting dates set for seven locations
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will hold a series of public meetings and accept public comment as part of an effort to update and revise Arizona’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP).
This document, previously known as the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, was accepted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Acceptance Advisory Team in April 2006. The approved plan requires the department to conduct a public review of the plan after the fourth year.
Arizona’s SWAP is unlike existing recovery plans and other regulatory documents in that it builds on and complements existing plans and wildlife conservation projects that are already underway. The plan outlines strategies and conservation actions aimed at promoting partnerships and coordinating efforts among all who hold a stake in conserving Arizona’s wildlife. As such, the plan addresses the full array of wildlife and habitats but focuses on identifying and managing the “wildlife and biotic communities of greatest conservation need”.
The review will focus on three main areas of the plan:
- The “Species of Greatest Conservation Need,” including the criteria used to determine their status and their spatial distributions.
- The spatial distribution of stressors to wildlife, including a vulnerability assessment for climate change.
- Delineation of landscapes of conservation concern.
The public meetings are scheduled to run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the following dates:
- Tuesday, Dec. 15, Kingman, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.
- Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, Tucson, Arizona Game and Fish Department Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.
- Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Yuma, Arizona Game and Fish Department Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.
- Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, Mesa, Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010, Pinetop, Arizona Game and Fish Department Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
- Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010, Flagstaff, Radisson Woodlands Hotel,1175 West Route 66.
- Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, Phoenix, Arizona Game and Fish Department Headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway.
The public meetings will include a formal presentation followed by the opportunity to participate in working groups that will discuss the plan’s main areas listed above.
In addition, the department will post the existing document and proposed changes at www.azgfd.gov/w_c/cwcs.shtml. The Web page will have a mechanism for people to submit comments to the department.
For over a decade, a coalition of more than 3,000 conservation organizations known as “Teaming With Wildlife” has labored to keep species from becoming endangered by increasing state and federal funding for wildlife conservation. This effort culminated in 2001 when federal legislation established a new State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program. SWG funds are used to support the needs of wildlife, their habitats, and related recreational and educational activities.
In order to continue receiving SWG funds, each of the 56 U.S. states and territories was required, by Congress, to submit a SWAP for approval to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Guidelines for developing the state plans and the eight required elements in each plan were established by state fish and wildlife agencies working with the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Teaming With Wildlife Committee.
Arizona’s SWAP is the culmination of a two-year effort during which the department solicited input from numerous experts, resource professionals, federal and state agencies, sportsmen groups, conservation organizations, Native American tribes, recreational groups, local governments and private citizens, and integrated those ideas and concerns into a single, comprehensive vision for managing Arizona’s fish, wildlife, and wildlife habitats.
The department is encouraging all of those previous participants, as well as any other member of the public, to contribute to this review effort.