officials looking to the future
An opportunity to shape the future of
Oklahoma’s fish and wildlife conservation is in the works. The
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, in collaboration with
wildlife stakeholders, is creating a
Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. The strategy will
address the needs all fish and wildlife species in the state. It
will also use a habitat approach, rather than a species-by-species
All 50 states are creating similar strategies. When fit together
like a puzzle, they will show the current state of America’s
wildlife and identify actions needed to keep fish and wildlife
“Overall, we’ve made great strides in fish and wildlife conservation
over the past few decades,” said Greg Duffy, director of the
Wildlife Department. “However, some areas of the conservation effort
have been historically under funded.”
Hunters, anglers and boaters, and participants in outdoor recreation
have traditionally funded the majority of fish and wildlife
conservation. This funding has not been enough to address the needs
of all 800 plus wildlife species in Oklahoma. That is the case
nationwide, and all state fish and wildlife agencies have been
working for 20 years to fill this funding gap.
This strategy is a component of the new, Federal State Wildlife
Grants Program: the nation’s core program for keeping America’s
wildlife populations healthy.
“At this point, the State Wildlife Grant funding is not permanent,
but it gives us an exciting opportunity to develop long-term
conservation goals and to demonstrate the need for long-term
funding,” said Andrea Crews, project leader and responsive
management specialist for the Department. “We’re looking at this as
the key to our future success as stewards and caretakers of
Oklahoma’s wildlife,” Duffy said.
The Department needs input from citizens and organizations as it
develops this comprehensive wildlife strategy. “We’re going to need
everyone’s input, including sportsmen and sportswomen, birdwatchers
and landowners,” Duffy said.
Public meetings will be held across the state during the first week
of March. These forums are Oklahomans’ opportunity to voice
important conservation concerns. Details about upcoming meetings,
dates and locations will be available soon at wildlifedepartment.com.