This article dates a few years back but it is still relavent. Im going to guess that this is true in most states.
Call them the forgotten species. Milk snakes and spotted bats. Boreal toads and burrowing owls. Western pearlshell mussels and leopard frogs.
They are among the 60 species in Montana most in need of conservation efforts, according to a new report from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Of those 60, only 11 are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and 22 have state or federal conservation plans.
“Most of them are in the gap between the game species and the threatened and endangered species,” said FWP spokesman Tom Palmer.
The goal of the report – a beefy 600 pages that took two years to compile – is to keep more species from being listed, largely by securing a flow of federal money to help conserve them.
Each state must complete a Comprehensive Fish and Wildlife Conservation Strategy, or CFWCS, to continue receiving those federal funds known as State Wildlife Grants in the future.
In the past few years, about $1 million yearly in federal money has funded Montana projects to restore arctic grayling and westslope cutthroat habitat, research loons and plan for wolf and grizzly bear management, Palmer said.
Benefiting obscure species also helps more common ones popular with hunters and anglers, said Craig Sharpe, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation.
“The positive benefits are looking at the needs of the species, because they’re all interconnected. I think the data collected will be invaluable,” he said Wednesday. “As we’ve said before, you can’t hunt and fish in a parking lot.”
The study looked at 636 species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, crayfish and mussels.
Of them, 60 species were listed as “tier one,” which means they have the greatest conservation needs.
The tier one list includes one mussel, three amphibians, five reptiles, 19 birds, 15 mammals and 17 fish.
The entire document is available on the Web at http://www.fwp.mt.gov. Click on the “draft CFWCS” link under hot topics.
The document is still in draft form and FWP is looking for public comment through Aug. 14. There will be a series of public meetings to explain the document, including one in Bozeman at the FWP building at 1400 South 19th, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 20.
Hard copies of the document will be available from FWP offices and at state libraries after July 15.