Tribal Engagement/Involvement in State Wildlife Action Plans
WHAT: State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) are developed by U.S. states and territories for conserving wildlife and habitat before they become too rare or costly to restore. In 2005, all 50 states, 5 US territories and the District of Columbia submitted their plan for approval to the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a condition for receiving funding through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program. The plans were updated in 2015. Each plan addresses 8 required elements (The conservation plans must provide: (fishwildlife.org)) determined by the US Congress. State Wildlife Action Plans :: Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
TRIBAL IMPACTS: Element 7 of the SWAP required elements states “they must provide and make use of plans for coordinating the development, implementation, review, and revision of the plan with Federal, State, and local agencies and Indian Tribes that manage significant land and water areas within the State or administer programs that significantly affect the conservation of identified species and habitats.” Tribal inclusion in SWAP varies. Some Tribes are lead authors, such as Idaho. Several Tribal fish and wildlife managers reported a “half-hearted” effort with a letter to participate but their input and ideas not incorporated into the SWAP. As States begin to review and update their SWAPs it is a good time for Tribal engagement. Fish and Wildlife do NOT respect political boundaries. Partnerships can lead to inclusion of species of cultural importance and recognition of Traditional Ecological Knowledge as well as technical assistance for Tribes as they develop Tribal Wildlife Action Plans.
NAFWS: Executive Director has presented on Tribal engagement in SWAPs and a preliminary meeting with Tribes and AFWA was held. We will continue to work with Tribes who have a desire to engage States for inclusion in SWAPs. We will seek to develop partnerships and continue to educate on the importance of Tribal engagement.