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Home > Programs > Bureau of Natural Resources > Division of Fish & Wildlife > 2015 RI State Wildlife Action Plan

The Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor, a fairly common animal, is the only true treefrog found in Rhode Island. They seem to be intolerant of habitat fragmentation and as a result have been extirpated from very urban areas like the greater metropolitain area around Providence as well as much of the Blackstone Valley.


State Wildlife Action Plan

2015 RI WAP Process

2015 RI WAP Document Progress

Partnership Approach

Stakeholder & Public Participation

State and Tribal Wildlife Grants

FAQs & Fun Reads

Useful Links

2005 RI WAP Website
Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife

Rhode Island
2015 Wildlife Action Plan Revision

TNC, DEM, and URI Logos
How You Can Help...
Your participation is vital to the RI Wildlife Action Plan's (RI WAP) success.
Now that we've crafted a plan together, please help us put that plan into Action!

Here are Fifteen Small Things that Make a Big Difference for Wildlife.

EXCITING UPDATE on the RI WAP REVISION draft progress!


In 2005, Rhode Island's first-ever Wildlife Action Plan (RI WAP) (formerly Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy; CWCS) was adopted by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) and approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It was part of an unprecedented national framework of similar plans developed by every US state and territory that together presented a national action agenda for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered.

The RI WAP enhances efforts to conserve Rhode Island's fish, wildlife and habitats not only through its planning and implementation, but also via the funds that become available upon its completion. Rhode Island is home to almost 900 vertebrate wildlife species and 20,000 invertebrates spanning from the scenic coastline to upland and wetland forests. Included in this natural diversity are a suite of mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian, fish and invertebrate species that the State has identified as in greatest conservation need.

State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP)

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) program was created by Congress in 2000 to address the longstanding need to fund actions to conserve declining fish and wildlife species before they become threatened or endangered. It is the core federal program for preventing future endangered species listings.

In accordance with the SWG legislation, each state must complete a State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) every 10 years to be eligible for matching grants. RI's original 2005 WAP will be revised by 2015. These proactive plans assess the health of each state's wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline actions needed to conserve them over the long term. Benefits that the RI WAP brings to the state include:
  • A comprehensive approach to wildlife conservation
  • Millions of $ in matching funds for research grants supporting conservation of non-game species and their habitats.
  • New local and regional partnerships
  • New local and regional support
Through this effort, RI DEM hopes to fund priority conservation efforts statewide and maintain RI's diverse natural landscape for its citizens and wildlife.

2005 Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan (formerly CWCS)
Eight Required Elements of a SWAP
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) SWAP overview
AFWA Teaming With Wildlife Program - SWAP Overview

2015 RI WAP Revision Process

By 2015, all states are required to update their original Wildlife Action Plans. RI DEM, with the assistance of the RI Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the University of Rhode Island, is one of the first states to forge ahead towards its revision, which aims to:
  • Reassess priority species and habitats, and provide more detailed mapping of priority conservation areas.
  • Analyze threats affecting these fish and wildlife, including those posed from habitat loss, degradation, population growth, and climate change.
  • Outline a number of conservation actions to address or alleviate these threats and help effectively conserve Rhode Island's valuable wildlife resources.
Over the next two years, RI DEM will work with wildlife experts from throughout the state and other key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan to provide direction and coordination of wildlife conservation efforts over the coming decade. RI DEM has also secured the assistance of a conservation and communication consultant (Terwilliger Consulting, Inc.) to develop an effective plan and process.

2015 RI WAP Timeline
2015 RI WAP Fact Sheet
2015 RI WAP Overview Presentation
2015 RI WAP Poster

2015 RI WAP Document Progress

The final 2015 Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan (including Species and Habitat Profiles) and companion documents are now available. The components of the document are provided as separate files for easy downloading and navigation. There are bookmarks throughout the documents which allow easy navigation within and between components. You might need to activate the bookmark bar on your PDF viewer in order to take advantage of these useful tools. Older versions of PDF viewers (i.e. Adobe Reader, Acrobat, etc.) might not support the use of an advanced bookmark bar, however, free updates and/or software can be found on the internet. Also, please note, that any part of the document that you would like to be able access via the bookmark system, must be downloaded (not simply viewed within the browser). We suggest downloading the entire document (all of its components) in order to navigate efficiently. We hope that you take full advantage of this integrated plan with all of its many detailed, useful components. Thank you to all of the many individuals and organizations who made the Plan as comprehensive as possible. We look forward to implementing it with your help!

Click here to download all components of the 2015 RI WAP. *Note: this zip file is large (~67MB), and will take some time to download. Species and Habitat Profiles Final Drafts - January 2015

New to the 2015 RI WAP Revision are the Species and Habitat Profiles. These profiles are user-friendly fact sheets that can be used individually or by animal group- or all together! For each species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) these profiles contain photos, distribution maps, status information, brief descriptions, and threats and actions. These profiles, and the information from which they were created, are the result of significant research and updates and input from RI and regional taxa experts. They were discussed and finalized at the Scientific Review Workshop for Prioritizing Conservation Actions on October 8, 2014. We thank the experts for their efforts and all of the stakeholders and members of the public who contributed their comments and suggestions! A Partnership Approach

For the 2015 RI WAP Revision, a strong and unique partnership has been formed between the RI DEM and the Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to leverage financial resources and staff expertise. This effort was further enhanced by the University of Rhode Island which is also providing project and technical assistance as a key member of the core team.

To support this collaboration, an organizational structure was created consisting of a: to appropriately guide the project towards completion and provide the necessary planning and technical expertise.

Engaging partners up front in the revision process fosters an inclusive and transparent process, ownership, and buy-in, promoting future support from those partners in RI WAP implementation and funding.

Engaging Stakeholder and Public Participation

As part of the 2015 RI WAP revision process, RI DEM is soliciting input from key local, state, and regional stakeholder entities and the public. Engaging stakeholders and the public is a priority, to foster an inclusive and transparent process, create shared ownership of the plan, and produce a plan that adequately reflects their values.

Broad public and stakeholder input will be requested and is welcome throughout the RI WAP revision process. Opportunities will range from Scientific Review Workshops to solicit technical expertise; to meetings with local planners, municipalities, conservation groups, and land trusts; to opportunities for the general public to provide feedback and input on the draft report.

Your participation is valuable to this process! Comments on the RI Wildlife Action Plan can be sent to

  • January 2013 Scientific Review Workshop – Species and Habitats

    In January 2013 RI DEM along with the RI Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the University of Rhode Island held its first Scientific Review Workshop to elicit expert stakeholder feedback on the draft list of priority conservation targets - Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Key Habitat - which will be the foundation for the SWAP's development. The successful workshop also provided the opportunity to inform participants of the RI WAP process, including activities to-date and moving forward.

    Invitees included individuals from the US EPA, US FWS, NOAA, Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Save the Bay, The RI Land Trust Council, University of Rhode Island, and other public, non-profit, academic, and private entities.

    January 2013 Scientific Review Workshop Agenda
  • During the months of January, February, March, and April of 2014, the Outreach, Core, and Technical Teams have each had either monthly or biweekly meetings. In addition, representative(s) from the RI WAP Revision team attended and presented the RI WAP 2015 status at the following events:

    • The Wildlife Diversity Program Managers Meeting: Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
    • RhodeMap RI Public Workshop
    • Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns (RILCT) Annual Conference
    • Land and Water Conservation Summit
    • The Effects of SLR on RI's Salt Marshes - Save the Bay Day
    • 70th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference
    • Party for the Planet at Roger Williams Park Zoo
    • NEFWDTC Annual Meeting
  • February 2014 Update
    RI WAP Community Liaison Amanda Freitas exhibited the 2015 Revision of the RI WAP to dozens of local officials at the League of Cities and Towns Fourteenth Annual Convention in Warwick on Thursday, January 30. This free convention provided the opportunity to get public feedback from Rhode Island citizens and officials. Amanda had a survey available to gain insight into participants' awareness of the WAP process and to get their direct suggestions as to how this RI WAP revision can better meet their needs. The survey is available through this website as well. Please take the time to share your ideas through this brief survey! To learn more about the convention, please visit

  • April 2014 SGCN List Announcement

  • October 2014 Scientific Review Workshop - Prioritization of Conservation Actions
    In October 2014, RI DEM along with the RI Chapter of TNC and the URI held its final Scientific Review Workshop to prioritize conservation actions and have an official final expert review of all aspects of the Species of Greatest Conservation Need, their associated habitats, and threats and actions to address conservation needs. We thank all of the participants for sharing their time and expertise!

  • November 2014 Public Meetings Announcement
  • December 2014 Public Comment Announcement

  • December 2014 Public Outreach Events
    In early December 2014, the RI WAP Community Liaison and the RI DEM contracted conservation and communication consultant held four convenient public meetings. These meetings were held in Colt State Park, Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, and the South Kingstown Land Trust Barn. These were fantastic opportunities to discuss the 2015 WAP and how it relates to conservation in RI, as well as solicit much appreciated public input on the document.
  • How You Can Get Involved

    The RI WAP revision is an opportunity for you to help shape the direction of wildlife conservation in the State! As we coordinate the best scientific data for the plan, lend your experiences, expertise, and ideas. Please send your comments to You can also take our survey.
State and Tribal Wildlife Grants

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) program was created by Congress in 2000 to address the longstanding need to fund actions to conserve declining fish and wildlife species before they become threatened or endangered. It is the core federal program for preventing future endangered species listings.

US Fish & Wildlife Service - State Wildlife Grant Program Overview
US Fish & Wildlife Service - Tribal Wildlife Grant Program Overview
AFWA Teaming with Wildlife Program - State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program
State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program: 10 Years of Success

Information will be added to this site throughout the 2015 RI WAP revision process.
Please check back for updates!

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rev. 2/2/16