Kentucky State Wildlife Action Plan

What is the Kentucky State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP)?

Kentucky's state wildlife action plan summarizes the status of our state's more vulnerable wildlife species and the condition of habitat on which they depend. It is a blueprint to drive conservation priorities and decision-making, developed by partners and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Action plans are adaptive: regularly reviewed and updated to keep current with emerging wildlife issues.

Why is it Important?

To maintain the health and diversity of Kentucky's fish and wildlife resources, we must prioritize projects and direct limited financial resources where they are most effective. Our strategy includes the management of currently rare/endangered species, those that are in decline, and many that have received less attention in the past. Because recovery is more costly and difficult to achieve once a species is imperiled, our goal is to intervene before a species is in crisis. In addition, we strive to keep our common species common and ensure healthy resources for future generations of Kentuckians.

What Species are Included?

During the 2023 SWAP revision, species specialists identified 527 species of greatest conservation need (SGCN), including freshwater mussels, fishes, crayfish, songbirds, reptiles, turtles, amphibians, mammals, insects, and plants. For each SGCN, teams identified potential and existing threats and specific conservation efforts necessary for the recovery of these species and their associated habitats.

Plan Accomplishments:

Since 2005, Kentucky's SWAP has guided and informed strategic habitat acquisition, cooperative habitat restoration projects, species reintroductions, defined service areas for stream and wetland mitigation, and informed research and status assessments. State conservation partners have used Kentucky's SWAP to leverage grant monies to fund activities such as:

  • Land Acquisition
  • Site Protection
  • Habitat Enhancement and Restoration
  • Status Assessments
  • Disease Surveillance
  • Data Management
  • Site Management
  • Surveys and Monitoring
  • Research
  • Captive Propagation and Species Reintroduction

Kentucky's Conservation Opportunity Areas

Part of Kentucky's plan highlights significant places in Kentucky to implement conservation actions and foster partner Engagement. These Conservation Opportunity Areas (COAs) represent regions of the state with high SGCN diversity where on-the-ground conservation actions can be implemented with an increased likelihood of success.

Who Can Use Kentucky's Plan?

This is a plan for ALL Kentuckians: government agencies, conservation groups, schools and universities, environmental consulting firms, city planners and interested citizens. Partnerships are key to implementing effective conservation actions.

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2023 Kentucky Wildlife Action Plan

View File Size: Approx. 38 MB


Laura Burford
State Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator
(Acting Nongame Coordinator)