Conserving Nongame Wildlife: 2012
A Year of Wildlife Conservation
More than 1,000 plant and animal species in Georgia are species of conservation concern. Nearly 320 of those, from bald eagles to hellbenders, are protected by state or federal law.
But for the Nongame Conservation Section, the big issue is what those numbers represent: Georgia’s wildlife diversity. It’s our job to make sure that rich diversity is conserved for generations to come. This mission covers all of Georgia’s native nongame wildlife, or species not legally fished for or hunted.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, our work took us from prescribed fires in the Piedmont to beach patrols for nesting loggerhead sea turtles, gentle giants showing signs of significant recovery.
We set up a volunteer network to monitor bats, teamed with partners to survey for state-endangered blackbanded sunfish and protect a Turner County pitcherplant bog, and searched mountain streams for the eastern hellbender, a massive salamander proposed for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act.
These are only examples of the work needed to assess Georgia’s nongame wildlife populations, restore their habitats and raise awareness about the importance of conserving them.
It is work that is strategic – guided by the State Wildlife Action Plan – and far-reaching, benefiting native species and the people who appreciate them. In 2011, wildlife-watching activities in our state involved an estimated 2.2 million Georgians and more than $1.8 billion in spending.
More big numbers.
Conserving the wildlife that make all of our lives richer is a big job. And it doesn’t happen without you.
Although part of the Georgia DNR, the Nongame Conservation Section does not receive state appropriations for nongame work. Instead, we depend on direct donations, fundraising and grants.
That means we need you – to buy nongame wildlife license plates, contribute to the Wildlife Conservation Fund income tax checkoff, attend Weekend for Wildlife or make direct donations to the Wildlife Fund.
This report offers a glimpse of what we do and how you can help.
Let me know what you think. And thank you for your support.
Chief, Nongame Conservation Section