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Native Species Recovery

Utah’s Wildlife Action Plan

The State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program was created by Congress in 2001 to provide states with federal dollars to support proactive conservation aimed at preventing federal listings under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). To ensure that grant funds are spent effectively and to prevent the need for additional ESA listings, states were required to develop Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategies. SWG programs now serve as the nation’s core effort to prevent fish and wildlife from needing protections under ESA and attempts to help species and their associated habitat conservation issues before they are designated as threatened or endangered.

Utah’s Action Plan was approved by the federal government and finalized in October 2005. It identifies 141 species of greatest conservation need (animals only), of which 18 are federally listed under ESA. There are 43 total federally listed species in Utah, 18 animals and 25 plants. The purpose of the plan is to direct the integration and implementation of ongoing and planned management actions that will conserve native species, thereby prevent the need for federal listings. SWG funds must be matched with state, local or private money. In Utah, the ESMF is the primary source of funding used for the required match for federal dollars distributed through SWG.

Tiger Trout caught at Scofield Reservoir


Boreal Toad observed during 2015 survey
Gila Monster located in southern Utah

Endangered Species Mitigation Fund

The Endangered Species Mitigation Fund (ESMF) is a state program created in 1997 by the Utah Legislature and is administered by DNR. The purpose of the ESMF is to provide funding to facilitate conservation of fish and wildlife species and their habitats in greatest need of protection.

What kind of projects are eligible for funds?
Any project that helps recover endangered or sensitive species is eligible to apply for a grant. Projects could include research to clarify the status, range or distribution of a species (such as the Boreal Toad Conservation and Monitoring Plan); a conservation action that will improve habitat for a species (such as sage-grouse habitat improvement); or a cooperative effort that provides landowners with incentives to manage or protect habitats that benefit sensitive species (such as the Utah Prairie Dog Management and Recovery Program). Priority is given to on-the-ground actions instead of research, planning or monitoring efforts.

Which species are we talking about?
Any species on Utah's Sensitive Species List (2005) is eligible for funding.

Who can apply?
ESMF funding is open to anyone with a viable project. Past recipients of ESMF awards include state agencies, counties, cities, universities and private individuals or groups. Any projects funded by the ESMF must have the support of the communities in which they take place, so it's important to develop a partnership with the local community before submitting your proposal. Call the Recovery Programs Office at (801) 538-5273 for more information.