Wildlife Action Plan
About the Plan

Alaska's Wildlife Action Plan provides a strategic framework and set of management tools that enables implementation of a long-term holistic conservation approach for all aquatic and terrestrial species. The purpose of the Plan is to identify species of greatest conservation need in Alaska, describe their distribution and habitat use, identify key threats to these species, and finally, identify conservation actions that could be used to promote healthy populations into the future. For a quick overview, see the Fact Sheet.

The original State Wildlife Action Plan was approved by the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2005 and made Alaska eligible for future Congressional appropriations of State Wildlife Grant funds. These funds promote research, monitoring and, ultimately, better long term management of species diversity across the United States. A revision to the Plan is required every 10 years, thus updating current conservation actions and including current conservation research. On October 1, 2015, we submitted a revised Alaska Wildlife Action Plan, which was approved by the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December of 2016.

Why was it Developed?

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) serves as the main coordinator of Alaska's State Wildlife Action Plan. Implementing such a plan fits in well with the department's legal mandate to protect and conserve the state's natural resources, including all wildlife species.

The goal of Alaska's Wildlife Action Plan is to conserve the full diversity of Alaska's wildlife resources, focusing on those species with the greatest conservation needs. A key intent of the Plan is to coordinate and integrate new conservation actions and strategies with Alaska's existing wildlife management and research programs, building upon the demonstrated successes of these earlier efforts.

In this way, the Plan functions as a blueprint for an overall conservation approach, one that sustains the full diversity of Alaska's wildlife. Via this blueprint, Alaska can foster broad strategies that promote wildlife conservation, while furthering responsible development and addressing the needs of a growing human population. It also helps Alaska prevent species listings under the federal and State of Alaska endangered species acts. This in turn reduces the potential for federal oversight and regulation of listed species and their habitats.

What is its Value to Alaska?

  • Value to wildlife
  • Value to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Value to conservation partners
  • Value to residents, visitors, and future generations

Value to Wildlife

Fulfilling conservation needs identified in the Wildlife Action Plan benefits Alaska's wildlife in numerous ways.

  • Status of species with declining populations will improve, making it unnecessary to include them on lists of state and federally threatened or endangered species.
  • The Plan can generate additional support for ongoing efforts to restore currently listed species.
  • Species presently considered common will benefit from the conservation of all of the varied habitats that cover Alaska's diverse landscape.
  • Reducing the rate of occurrence of invasive species introductions and establishments, landscape fragmentation, habitat conversion and other broad-scale threats will benefit many species and their habitats.

Value to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game

As the designated trustee of the State's natural resources, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game holds all wildlife — including mussels, snails, crayfish, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals — in trust for the benefit of the people of Alaska. In keeping with the agency's mission, ADF&G programs reflect the broad range of benefits and values that people desire from natural resources. The Plan is an important tool in helping ADF&G achieve its mission - a tool designed to be updated at appropriate intervals, and integrated as appropriate into the agency's many public trust responsibilities and management efforts.

Value to Partners

Perhaps the most important achievement of the Wildlife Action Plan is the improved communication and cooperation between conservation partners. We expect that will lead to more effective management of Alaska's lands, waters, and wildlife resources.

The Plan identifies priorities to help guide use of funds for addressing the needs of species, and landscapes they use. It also creates a collaborative framework for wildlife conservation that addresses the needs of all wildlife in the State, with an ultimate objective of protecting biodiversity while maintaining opportunities for human activities. Coordination within this framework will reduce overlap between partners, resulting in more effective and efficient conservation efforts. Ultimately, successful holistic conservation of wildlife can only be achieved through partnerships between public agencies, private organizations, and private individuals.

Value to Residents, Future Generations, Visitors & Industry

As this Plan is implemented, Alaska's citizens and visitors will benefit from: enhanced wildlife-related recreational activities and experiences, such as bird watching, hunting and fishing; improved quality of life by having diverse and sustainable wildlife and habitats; and economic rewards associated with increased opportunities for nature tourism. Implementing this action Plan will also help ensure sound management of our ecosystems, resulting in healthy and functioning natural systems that provide important services such as flood control, nutrient and contaminant processing, and soil maintenance.

This Plan is expected to improve the allocation and use of Federal and State funds. Conservation and restoration of threatened and endangered species tends to be an expensive and controversial process. Actions recommended in this Plan can help reduce these costs to Alaska's taxpayers by improving the status of species listed as threatened or endangered, assisting species in decline before they are listed, addressing potential threats before they become severe, and leveraging State of Alaska dollars through partnerships with non-State entities. Ultimately, maintaining healthy populations of wildlife avoids listing under the federal Endangered Species Act and the associated regulatory burdens on economic and other activities that come with such listings.

If you have any questions, please contact the Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program coordinator, Tracey Gotthardt (tracey.gotthardt@alaska.gov).