The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today the distribution of $950,000 under its 2012 Competitive State Wildlife Grant Program to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to help prevent “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” from becoming threatened, endangered, or extinct.

As lead agency, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will work with over twenty partners from state, tribal, federal, university and
nonprofit organizations to implement the “Multi-Species Baseline Initiative” (MBI). The MBI will focus on acquiring distribution and abundance information for twenty species in the Idaho Panhandle, northeastern Washington and British Columbia.

Biological data of these species, including rare forest carnivores, amphibians and terrestrial gastropods, will be collected over three years. All the species are identified in Idaho’s and Washington’s State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) as Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are lacking essential information on their status.

Additionally, data will be collected that will address the emerging concerns of climate change on these species’ habitats across Idaho,
Washington and British Columbia, using the innovative approach of co-locating climate monitoring stations with species survey plots. Both Idaho and Washington have committed to consider climate change concerns in their revised SWAPs, which will be updated by 2015.

The Congressionally authorized funds will be matched by nearly $1,216,000 from state partners and nonprofit organizations to build
partnerships, engage community support, continue volunteer citizen science efforts, and collaborate on a shared conservation mission. Idaho Department of Fish and Game contributions include $45,000 in nongame trust funds and $155,000 in volunteer match.

“This award will provide for critical conservation programs essential to managing Species of Special Concern, and will supplement funds provided in 2012 under the non-competitive State Wildlife Grant Program,” said Robyn Thorson, Director of the Service’s Pacific Region.

For more information about the Multi-Species Baseline Initiative, please visit the project website at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/baseline. For information on Idaho’s State Wildlife Action Plan and Species of Greatest Conservation Need, visit https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/cwcs.

Image courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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