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New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan
Determining Species of Greatest Conservation Need

DEP Seeks Public Comment on Major Update to State Wildlife Action Plan (DEP News Release, 12/11/17)
Comment by January 19, 2018

NOTE: To access specific portions of the plan, please use the bookmarked Table of Contents on Page vii in New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan (pdf, 32mb)

The first important step in undertaking the 2017 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) update was to review the conservation status of New Jersey's wildlife and determine which species are most in need of active conservation to ensure they remain part of our biological heritage. These at-risk birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates are acknowledged as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) (see Chapter 1) (pdf, 32mb) due to their low and/or declining populations and vulnerability to threats. Without actions to conserve them, SGCN are likely to decline further over the next ten years, possibly leading them closer to endangerment or extirpation.


To develop the SGCN list, the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) evaluated all of New Jersey's native, indigenous wildlife species using the best available assessments of their conservation statuses and trends within the state, the northeastern U.S., and beyond. The resources and criteria used to select SGCN (see Appendix A) (pdf, 32mb) mainly included state and federal listing statuses, status assignments by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), published evaluations by taxonomic expert groups, and taxonomic conservation plans that list or rank at-risk species based on a variety of vulnerability factors.

Species meeting one or more of the assessment criteria were included on New Jersey's SGCN list (see Appendix B) (pdf, 32mb). For example, a species state or federally listed, or on the IUCN Red List as "Near Threatened" through "Critically Endangered," was identified as an SGCN. At the taxonomic level, any bird on the Partners In Flight "Watch List" and any insect on the Xerces Society "Red List" were included. Out of New Jersey's approximately 3,700 native wildlife species, 656 met one or more of the criteria for inclusion on the SGCN list.

The SGCN list was further refined to Priority SGCN, "Upper Tier" Priority SGCN, and finally a list of 107 Focal SGCN.

The formal comment period for the revised NJ State Wildlife Action Plan has closed. We intend, however, to ensure that the Plan is a living document, and we welcome your continued input. The Plan will remain on our website with the ability to accept comments, which will be considered as we continue the process of assessing threats and developing and prioritizing appropriate conservation actions, for Conservation Focal Areas, focal species and their habitats.

Please use the form below to submit comment on Determining Species of Greatest Conservation Need only; there are separate comment forms for each aspect of the Plan.
Be sure to complete fields that are designated as "* = required".

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The Division of Fish and Wildlife thanks all who reviewed the NJ State Wildlife Action Plan and submitted comments.

Back to New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 26, 2018