The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) has placed the complete draft State Wildlife Action Plan online for review. MD DNR is seeking public comment on the entire draft plan which includes ten chapters, appendices, and supplementary documents. The Maryland State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) is a non-regulatory strategy to guide the conservation of the state’s wide range of fish, plants, and wildlife. This Plan is a revised version of the Wildlife Diversity Conservation Plan which was completed in 2005. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires that each state review and revise their action plan every 10 years. The Department has led the effort for Maryland, working with other federal, state and local organizations to describe recommended projects for wildlife conservation.
The most interesting tables for LepLog readers are likely to be the listing of insects considered to be Species of Greatest Conservation Need (in Appendix 1) and the Conservation Action for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (in Appendix 7).
I suppose it is worth mentioning at this point that many of us who attended the special workshop on insect conservation that informed this part of the Plan strongly recommended against listing Monarch as a species facing any kind of conservation threat in Maryland that we can do anything about (their wintering habitat in Mexico is another matter). In the year since that meeting an even stronger case has been made in the scientific literature that Monarch populations in Maryland and surrounding states are stable and robust. Nevertheless, Monarch is listed along with such critically imperiled species as Olympia Marble, King’s Hairstreak, and Chermock’s Mulberry Wing. It’s hard to imagine another Species of Greatest Conservation Need that one can walk into most any field (and many suburban gardens) in Maryland in August and see in some numbers.
Public input is welcome on any part of the SWAP through the online comment form, by mail to: Maryland State Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator, 580 Taylor Ave., E-1, Annapolis, MD 21401, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org directly.