DNR Seeking Public Input for Major Wildlife Conservation Plan

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Georgia residents can weigh in on a plan that will guide wildlife conservation efforts in the state for years to come. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) will host six meetings across the state to solicit public input on Georgia’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS). The first meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2, at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield.

“This strategy is very important for prioritizing our conservation efforts and securing federal funding to protect our native species in Georgia,” said Jon Ambrose, assistant chief of the WRD Nongame Wildlife and Natural Heritage Section. “We hope that residents will attend these meetings to learn about the process and to share their thoughts about wildlife conservation needs.”

In developing the strategy, WRD staff compiled the best available data on the distribution and abundance of wildlife species in the state, identified species of greatest conservation need and habitats required by those species, and developed action plans for management and conservation of these species and habitats. Meetings with conservation stakeholders were held to gain input on conservation objectives and opportunities in each ecological region of the state. Committees of representatives from conservation groups, major landholders and state agencies have worked to compile an exhaustive list of conservation needs and priorities for Georgia. A summary of the planning process and major components of the strategy will be presented in the series of public meetings.

Much of the funding for this planning effort came from a federal grant program known as State Wildlife Grants. WRD has committed to develop and begin implementing the strategy by October 1, 2005, in order to qualify for State Wildlife Grant funding in the future.

The CWCS will provide guidance to Georgia DNR and other organizations involved in wildlife conservation in Georgia. The strategy will help these organizations prioritize conservation efforts based on need and opportunity, resulting in more effective wildlife conservation efforts statewide. Additional funds will be made available to conserve imperiled and declining species and their habitats throughout the state. The CWCS will also promote interagency and public-private partnerships that serve a wide variety of native species and natural habitats.

For more information about this planning effort, visit www.gadnr.org/cwcs .

The public meeting schedule is listed below. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

June 2
Charlie Elliott Conference Center
Covey Room
Mansfield, GA

June 14
The Forum Civic Center
The Blossom Room
Rome, GA

June 16
Georgia Mountain Center
Meeting Room A
Gainesville, GA

June 21
Okefenokee Technical College
Conference Room 210
Waycross, GA

June 23
Lee County Library
Leesburg, GA

June 28
Georgia Southern University
Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Building
Statesboro, GA