Jack Rabbit, Texas-Photo Credit Chase Fountain

Burrowing Owl, Nevada - Photo Credit Tim Torrell

Eyed Trout Eggs, Tonto Creek Hatchery AZ - Photo Credit George Andrejko

Humpback Whales, Orca, Alaska - Photo Credit Sandstrom, Riley Woodford



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Apr 03

Responsible Recreation During COVID-19

Follow these core concepts for responsible recreation during COVID-19. Infographic from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. 

Mar 19

COVID-19 and WAFWA Meetings

Read the latest update on WAFWA meetings and cancellations due to COVID-19. 

Mar 03

Aerial Surveys to Document Lesser Prairie-Chicken Population Trends


March 2, 2020

Contact: Bill Van Pelt, 623.236.7573



Aerial surveys will begin March 16 and run through mid-May in five states containing lesser prairie-chicken habitat. The surveys are conducted annually by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to document population trends and how the bird is responding to management strategies identified in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken with voluntary cooperation of landowners and industry. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

The aerial surveys utilize a consistent methodology to estimate lesser prairie-chicken population abundances. The goal of the surveys is to document population trends over time that will help determine how habitat management strategies are affecting lesser prairie-chicken populations.

The surveys will be conducted by helicopter in locations chosen randomly within the lesser prairie-chicken range, which is part of the methodology strategy. In previous years, some of the fly paths prompted calls, which is why WAFWA is getting the word out about the start of aerial survey work.

Results from this year’s surveys will be available on July 1.

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan can be found HERE


Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.



Feb 21

Merkley, Congressmen Introduce Bicameral, Bipartisan Bill to Prevent the Ex...

Thursday, February 20, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Rodney Davis (R-IL-12), and Rob Woodall (R-GA-7) today led the introduction of the Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat (MONARCH) Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would provide urgent protections for the struggling western monarch butterfly, a pollinator that is integral to supporting American agriculture and whose population has dropped by 99% since the 1980s.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in the Senate, and Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Jerry McNerney (D-CA-9), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1), Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), and Joe Courtney (D-CT-2) in the House.

“As the western monarch butterfly comes closer and closer to extinction, we don’t just risk losing these beautiful creatures—we also face an increasing threat to American agriculture and our food supply,” said Merkley. “This is an urgent issue that requires urgent solutions. That’s why we must do everything we can to implement experts’ conservation plans and save these species before time runs out.”

"My district on the central coast of California is home to four of the top 10 high priority overwintering sites for western monarch butterflies. Sadly, as climate change continues to degrade their habitat, we have seen a huge decline in the number of monarchs on the Central Coast and along their migratory path," said Rep. Panetta.  "The MONARCH Act will provide critical federal investment in the activities needed to save the Western Monarch butterfly population from extinction. By actively restoring and protecting key monarch habitats, we can also help facilitate the conservation of other essential pollinators."

"Over the past 40 years, the monarch butterfly population has dramatically depleted. We can't let these important pollinators fall into extinction," said Rep. Carbajal. "Luckily, our MONARCH Act is a way to protect these butterflies and, in turn, uplift our Pacific coast environment. In my district in Pismo Beach, we have the largest overwintering site of monarchs in the state and our ecosystem needs a healthy monarch population. Our bipartisan MONARCH Act incentivizes communities to boost conservation and help this population soar. I'm proud to introduce this important bill with my colleagues today."

“Preserving our pollinators is vital to our ecosystem,” said Rep. Davis. “Their extinction would threaten agriculture and therefore, our food supply. As a co-chair of the Pollinator Caucus, I’m proud to support bipartisan solutions, like the MONARCH Act, which would invest in projects to protect the western monarch butterfly.”

“I appreciate the House Pollinator Protection Caucus’ work to bring attention to and propose solutions, like this bill, that address the challenges associated with the decline in pollinators across the country,” said Rep. Woodall. “Pollinators such as the Monarch Butterfly are vital to our ecosystem, and to avoid the loss of this species, we have to be on the offensive and take all necessary precautions.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that approximately 35% of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators for survival. But years of climate chaos, habitat loss, and disease are pushing pollinators like the monarch butterfly to the brink of extinction.

The MONARCH Act would help meet the critical need for urgent species recovery efforts by authorizing $62.5 million for projects aimed at conserving the western monarch. The legislation authorizes an additional $62.5 million to be spent by the National Fish and Wildlife Agencies to implement the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan, which was prepared by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in January of last year. The $62.5 million in funding for each effort would be divided into five annual installments of $12.5 million.

“Western monarch butterflies could be the next victims of the extinction crisis without immediate help,” said Stephanie Kurose, endangered species policy specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Future generations deserve a chance to see these beautiful black and orange butterflies in backyards across the West. Sen. Merkley and Reps. Panetta and Carbajal’s legislation gives them a fighting chance.”

“Western monarch populations have fallen by more than 99% in the last three decades and it is vital that we maximize conservation efforts to recover the species,” said Scott Black, Executive Director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “That is why Xerces strongly supports the Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act of 2020, as it would provide essential funding to help protect and restore habitat for these incredible animals.”

“With so many insect species barreling towards extinction, we need to protect and expand pollinator habitat now, more than ever,” said Jason Davidson, food and agriculture campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “The MONARCH Act would be a giant step towards protecting the pollinators we rely on for our food system. Thank you to Senators Merkley, Harris, Booker, and Whitehouse, and to the House sponsors of this bill, for their leadership on pollinators.”

The legislation is endorsed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, National Wildlife Federation, Monarch Joint Venture, Friends of the Earth, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), MonarchAlert, California Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), San Diego Zoo Global, City of Pacific Grove, CA, Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency, Charles Paddock Zoo, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Bees N Blooms, Safari West, Naturedigger, Butterfly Farms, Malibu Monarch Project, Aerulean Plant Identification Systems, Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, People and Pollinators Action Network, Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Toxic Free NC, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Pollinate Minnesota, Pennies for Monarchs, the Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City, and Unite the Parks.

Today’s announcement builds on a series of recent actions undertaken by Senator Merkley to revive the populations of western monarchs and other pollinators, like honeybees—including the introduction of the bipartisan Monarch and Pollinator Highway (MPH) Act of 2019, which would establish a federal grant program to assist with the implementation of pollinator-friendly practices on roadsides and highway rights-of-way.

The full bill text of the MONARCH Act is available here.

Press Release from Jeff Merkley website


Feb 20

WAFWA and Lesser Prairie-Chicken Program Article

WAFWA's Lesser Prairie-Chicken program was featured in an article by The Oklahoman on February 16, 2020. 

Click here to read the full article.

Feb 15

Release of Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plan for t...

Release of Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plant for the Sagebrush Biome
Western Weed Coordinating Committee
February 1, 2020


The Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plan for the Sagebrush Biome represents the culmination of an unprecedented four-year collaboration among state and federal agencies investigating the threats of invasive plants to the sagebrush biome. The strategic plan identifies opportunities to overcome these threats through messaging, collaboration, prioritization, data sharing and increasing capacity to effectively implement cutting-edge, scientifically based management approaches across the Western landscape. 

Each landowner, organization, and agency involved in the conservation of the sagebrush biome recognizes the important economic, environmental, and cultural values that are at risk from invasions of harmful exotic plant species.  The ravages of wildfire in these Western landscapes are driven by these invasions, particularly invasive plants that increase wildfire frequency and intensity like cheatgrass.  These invasions often result in declining private property values, economic losses due to reduced land productivity and health, and drastic changes in local community lifestyles. Moreover, the complexity of the invasive species problem is exacerbated by expanding drought and development. 

Stakeholders across this landscape came together with a common vision, based on common concerns about the risk of invasive species, and on the necessary actions that have the potential to strategically halt or reverse the onslaught from these exotic invaders.  This Strategic Action Plan applies broadly and at all levels. 

In this bi-partisan and widely supported effort, the reader will likely find several components critical for helping address the invasive species issues they are currently encountering. A repeated concern raised by all stakeholders throughout the development of this Strategic Action Plan was the widespread lack of operational capacity and management capability to address invasive species; and a the need for major financial investments at all local, state, and federal levels.  Private landowners, public land managers, and scientists know what to do to restore and protect the sagebrush biome; they just need resources to win the battles they face.  This Strategic Action Plan is designed to change the paradigm for Western weed management, and serves as a foundation on which to build management capacity and develop stronger science-based policy decisions to guide all invasive plant management efforts in the future.  It is not designed to function tactically, but focuses on high-level strategic approaches developed through years of dialog and assessment by those directly impacted by invasive species.  Private individuals, government agencies, industry, and non-government groups are encouraged to actively embrace any one or more of the components of this plan that they are best suited to address.  In the near-term, the release of this Strategic Action Plan will be hosted by the Western Weed Coordinating Committee (WWCC) and made available on their website. However, in the coming months the WWCC and its Western Weed Strategic Action Plan Working Group will be working to develop a more extensive webpage dedicated to making the Strategic Action Plan a “living document” through tracking its implementation and accomplishments.

Please click here to view the full report. 


Feb 07

First Youth Under 18 Completes Western Native Trout Challenge

Read an article from Orvis interviewing the first youth under 18 to complete the Western Native Trout Challenge. 

Feb 05

ON THE HORIZON- News from WAFWA February 2020: Issue 21

New collaboration tools, sagebrush stakeholder meetings, and bighorn sheep transfer. Find out about the latest efforts to conserve the lands, waters and wildlife in the West.

Jan 11

The Association Applauds the Senate for Passage of the America's Conservati...

Washington D.C. (January 10, 2020)- The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is pleased to announce the passage of critical conservation legislation through the full Senate via unanimous consent for the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (S. 3051). The Association thanks Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) for their leadership in advancing this bipartisan legislation through the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and successfully championing agreement by unanimous consent on the Senate floor late last evening. Passage by the full Senate followed a December 17th legislative markup on S. 3051 in the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, during which it passed by unanimous consent.     

“Immediate enactment of legislation is necessary to continue community-based actions that address the most pressing fish, wildlife, and habitat conservation issues by empowering habitat restoration, ensuring cleaner water for people and fish, and providing immediate steps for disease management,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The Association and our state fish and wildlife agency members strongly encourage the House to pass and the President to enact the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act in its current form without delay.”  

The bill combines several legislative provisions that are critical to fish, wildlife, and our natural resources, including codifying the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the establishment of a task force to combat the rapidly growing threat of chronic wasting disease, and many other vitally important conservation provisions. 
The Association looks forward to continuing to work with our conservation partners and members of the House of Representatives to expeditiously bring the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act to the House floor for immediate passage in its current form.    

The bill combines several legislative provisions that are critical to fish, wildlife, and our natural resources, including codifying the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the establishment of a task force to combat the rapidly growing threat of chronic wasting disease, and many other vitally important conservation provisions.   
The Association looks forward to continuing to work with our conservation partners and members of the House of Representatives to expeditiously bring the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act to the House floor for immediate passage in its current form.    
 The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice. 

Dec 21

WAFWA's Office Has Moved

WAFWA has moved our Boise headquarters to a new address:

Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
3380 Americana Terrace, Suite 320
Boise, ID 83706

WAFWA's main phone number will remain the same at 208-331-9431




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