Delaware Wildlife Action Plan 2015-2025

In accordance with congressional requirements, Delaware’s Wildlife Action Plan provides an inventory of natural resources information and conservation programs in the state, lists the species of greatest conservation needs (SGCN), their key habitats, issues, research needs, and conservation actions. In keeping with Delaware’s Wildlife Action Plan published in 2006, this updated plan published in 2015 acknowledges climate change as a primary challenge to conserving the state’s wildlife population.

The plan explains that climate change, severe weather, and invasive species are significant threats to Delaware’s wildlife. Chapter three of the plan summarizes climate projections for Delaware and potential impacts. It reports that climate change will change habitat quality, timing, availability of food, and abundance of pests and disease. Temperature changes and precipitation will also add increased stress to the environment.

The plan discusses the need for more information and planning to fill in existing research gaps - including more knowledge related to species distribution, more education and outreach - especially with children, and more stable funding for wildlife and habitat conservation, education, and research.

Chapter four describes actions the state has taken to address climate risks, including a regional effort through the Regional Conservation Needs program and the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee that synthesize climate change information and impacts on wildlife. Delaware is also identifying and protecting habitats at high risk of sea level rise. The plan also outlines broad measure they are using to assess climate change preparedness conservation actions, such as “percent of planning and climate preparedness actions implemented as planned” and “evidence that planning is reducing key threats”

This chapter also outlines specific actions the state should take including educating all staff about climate change, coordinating with local governments, and planning for increasing demands for shoreline management and beach preservation.  


Congress charged each state and territory with developing a State Wildlife Action Plan in 2005, in order to receive funds through the State Wildlife Grants Program. To qualify, the state must identify the species of greatest conservation need, and outline strategic conservation actions for wildlife and habitats. An update to the plan is mandated every ten years, and a number of states have incorporated climate change impacts into the updated versions. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies prepared a report with guidance focused on integrating climate change adaptation planning into SWAPs in 2009 - Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans and Other Management Plans.



Publication Date: 2015

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