Our Work With State Wildlife Action Plans

Great Egret

Protecting wildlife for our children's future will require bold and strategic conservation efforts in every state.

Fortunately, a vision for conserving wildlife now exists thanks to the development of State Wildlife Action Plans.

These federally-funded state plans are setting the stage for an ambitious new direction for wildlife conservation and collectively represent a national action agenda for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered.

How They Work

Every state has written a State Wildlife Action Plan, which acts like a blueprint for conservation. Plans assess the health of wildlife and habitat in the state, so experts know which species are at risk, and outline steps needed to conserve the “species of greatest conservation need” before they become more rare and costly to protect. The State Wildlife Grants Program provides federal dollars and matching state funds to support states and territories in cost-effective conservation.

Successful State Wildlife Action Plans

The National Wildlife Federation is a founding member of a coalition of more than 6,300 organizations supporting increased public funding for wildlife conservation and related education and recreation. The coalition works to ensure that state wildlife agencies and their conservation partners have the funding they need to fully implement their wildlife action plans.

A Bold Vision for Funding Wildlife Conservation

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced in 2016 by Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), will redirect $1.3 billion of existing revenue annually to state-led wildlife conservation efforts, effectively allowing the states to more fully implement their State Wildlife Action Plans. This legislation follows the recommendation of a diverse group of energy, business and conservation leaders.

The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources determined that an annual investment of $1.3 billion in revenues from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters could address the needs of thousands of species, preventing them from needing to be added to the Endangered Species Act. The number of species petitioned for listing under the Act has increased by 1,000 percent in less than a decade. The Blue Ribbon Panel was co-chaired by former Wyoming governor, David Freudenthal, and John L. Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops.


  • NWF works to advance and support state wildlife conservation efforts by:

    Advocating for robust, dedicated funding for action plan implementation through the annual federal budget process and other legislation.

    Building awareness of the importance of state wildlife action plans and galvanizing state-level Teaming with Wildlife Coalitions.

    Promoting the use of wildlife action plans to inform broader land use and resource management activities.

    Working with states to help them incorporate climate change into their action plans

Learn more about National Wildlife Federation's adaptation reports.

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