The 2022 Northeast Lexicon - Terminology Conventions and Data Framework for State Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeast Region
State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) are comprehensive conservation blueprints that guide diverse partners to restore Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats. To fulfill this role at a regional scale, SWAPs must provide consistent terminology to support comprehensive multi-state information compilation and assessments. This need was recognized prior to the 2015 federally required 10-year revision, when the Northeast Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ Fish & Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee (NEFWDTC) pioneered The Northeast Lexicon: Terminology Conventions and Data Framework for State Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeast Region. The resulting consistency in terminology among SWAPs served as a gateway to regional coordination and tool development such as the Northeast SWAP Database. Subsequently, this database has been used by the NEFWDTC to derive multistate priorities for landscape-level collaboration. In 2022, the NEFWDTC SWAP Subcommittee updated the Northeast Lexicon, incorporating current best practices and considering new opportunities for collaboration prior to 2025 SWAP updates. The 2022 Lexicon provides a data framework for the first five federally required Elements (i.e., species, habitats, threats, actions, monitoring), meets U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expectations for SWAPs, aligns with national voluntary SWAP best practices, and prioritizes data fields needed for the Northeast SWAP Database and regional conservation planning analyses. While maximizing consistency, the Lexicon provides flexibility to realize the value of innovation and the need for SWAPs to be state-driven.