Northeast Regional Conservation Synthesis for 2025 State Wildlife Action Plans

This 2023 Northeast Regional Conservation Synthesis updates the original 2013 synthesis for State Wildlife Action Plans. Its purpose is to support the 2025 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) revisions.

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Executive summary and document structure overview.

SWAP Element 1: Species

Summarizes the status of Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN) and Watchlist species region-wide. These 806 species are indicative of the diversity and overall health of wildlife in the Northeast region. The RSGCN list, organized into 20 taxonomic groups, is updated every five years to include new information on the status of select species in the region and for additional taxonomic groups, particularly invertebrates. This Chapter incorporates these updates, which are essential for addressing Element 1 at the regional level.

SWAP Element 2: Key Habitats

Summarizes the regional extent and condition of habitats and community types essential to the conservation of Northeast RSGCN and Watchlist species. This Chapter also highlights the regional terrestrial and aquatic habitat classification systems, maps, guides, and assessments for use in the revisions of State Wildlife Action Plans. It describes 24 coarse habitat types used in the Northeast Lexicon and RSGCN Database. A synthesis of the available information on these habitat types, including lists of RSGCN and Watchlist species associated with each; current information on the habitat’s availability and condition; threats; relevant national and regional management plans conservation partners; available best management practices; and habitat-specific information and research needs are provided. Additional information on the availability and the condition of Northeast habitats was developed in coordination with the Northeast Habitat Condition Assessment, a concurrent RCN project (Anderson et al. 2023).

SWAP Element 3: Threats

Summarizes the issues and problems identified in the 14 Northeast SWAPs that may adversely affect RSGCN or their habitats. It also describes the priority research and survey efforts needed to support restoration and improved conservation of these species and habitats. Following the development of the 2015 SWAPs, the Northeast State Wildlife Action Plan Synthesis: Regional Conservation Priorities report synthesized the threats to both species and habitats identified in the 14 individual SWAPs (TCI and NEFWDTC 2017). The Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have developed several threat classification systems, which were advanced by Lamarre et al. (2021) for use in Quebec. This classification system is consistent with the older classification systems and was modified to include relevant threats for the Northeast (see Supplemental Information 3).

Element 4: Conservation Actions

Summarizes how regional priority conservation actions identified by the 2017 SWAP Synthesis are being implemented by RCN, USFWS SA, and CSWG partner projects throughout the region. This Chapter lists seven priority regional conservation actions grounded in the common themes and priorities of the 2015 Northeast SWAPs (TCI and NEFWDTC 2017) and further prioritized by the NEFWDTC and its SWAP Coordinators, Threat Working Groups, and taxonomic teams. Appendix 4A updates the inventory of RCN projects supported by the NEFWDTC and the Competitive State Wildlife Grant and Science Applications projects undertaken in the Northeast region over the past decade. Supplemental Information 4 provides the action classification system, and Appendix 4B provides a matrix summary of priority actions identified in the 2017 SWAP synthesis to address each key threat.

Element 5: Inventory and Monitoring

Summarizes the Northeast Monitoring and Performance Reporting Framework (NEAFWA 2008), monitoring protocols, and plans identified in RCN and CSWG project reports. The focus is on monitoring RSGCN and their habitats, monitoring the effectiveness of the conservation actions summarized in Chapter 4, and adapting these conservation actions in response to new information or changing conditions. This Chapter also provides further information and resources for inventorying and monitoring species (Element 1), habitats (Element 2), threats (Element 3), and Actions (Element 4). In addition, Supplementary Information 5 and Chapter 4 include newly standardized monitoring protocols for RSGCN and Watchlist species and links to regional monitoring networks developed over the past decade.

Element 6: Review 

Summarizes regional coordination and processes for reviewing the plan at intervals not to exceed ten years. It addresses Element 6 and provides the key SWAP guidance and the required review/update schedules. It also includes concise summaries of the advancements since the previous regional conservation synthesis (TCI and NEFWDTC 2013) contained in the other chapters of this 2023 Regional Conservation Synthesis and key guidance resources.

Element 7: Partners

Summarizes landscape and seascape-level conservation partnerships in the Northeast, including federal, state, and local agencies, Native American Tribes, and other non-governmental and non-tribal entities that either manage significant land and water areas within the region or administer programs that significantly affect the conservation of identified species and habitats. This Chapter also provides information on conservation partners and their programs, projects, and initiatives that address the needs of RSGCN and Watchlist Northeast Regional Conservation Synthesis, Introduction 15 | P a g e

species and their 24 habitats, suggesting opportunities to enhance collaboration, leverage resources, and synergize conservation efforts.

Element 8: Public Engagement

Summarizes advancements in social science relevant to the conservation of regional priority species and habitats, public outreach and education, and citizen science programs. Chapter 8 also summarizes available information on best practices for education and outreach activities and diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion initiatives. Key citizen science projects and programs that are currently contributing to the conservation of RSGCN and Watchlist species and their habitats in the Northeast are included in Chapter 1 (species or taxa-based), Chapter 2 (habitat-based), and Chapter 8 (multi-taxa and/or habitat).


Appendices for this and all Regional Conservation Synthesis chapters can be found together in the appendices document so the reader can open the chapters and appendices side-by-side if desired. Appendices include Acronyms, RSGCN Methods, Crosswalk of SWAP Key Habitats with the 24 habitats, Crosswalk of DSLland Formations and Ecosystems with the 24 habitats, List of NEAFWA RCN and USFWS (CSWG, SA) projects, and the Action matrix from 2017 SWAP Synthesis.

Supplemental information

Supplemental information for this and all Synthesis Chapters can be found in the Supplemental Information Excel file. It contains data tables better represented in a data file for ease of use including tables of all RSGCN categories, state breakdown of RSGCN species, lists of RSGCN and Watchlist species associated with each of the 24 habitats, the threats classification system, with TCI customization of the Quebec system (Lamarre et al. 2021), IUCN/CMP Actions classification system, and standardized monitoring protocols for species.

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