Deer in Spring Landscape

2005 Maryland Wildlife Diversity Conservation Plan

What are Species of Greatest Conservation Need?

Species of greatest conservation need are those animals, both aquatic and terrestrial, that are at risk or are declining in Maryland. They include threatened and endangered species, as well as many other species whose populations are of concern in our State.

Refer to: Chapter 3: Maryland’s Wildlife Resources and Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Photo of male Cecropia moth

Maryland's Wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need for inclusion in the 2005 Wildlife Diversity Conservation Plan

  • Federally-listed threatened and endangered animals
  • State-listed threatened and endangered animals
  • Wildlife species listed as In Need of Conservation
  • Natural Heritage Program tracked and watchlist animal species
  • Northeast wildlife species of regional conservation concern
  • Endemic species
  • Responsibility species (those for which MD supports the core populations)
  • Partners in Flight and All Bird Conservation priority species
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service’s migratory birds of management concern
  • Colonial waterbirds
  • Forest interior breeding birds
  • Shrubland successional breeding birds at risk
  • Grassland breeding birds at risk
  • Shorebirds with significant migratory concentrations
  • Marshland breeding birds (e.g., rails, bitterns, sedge wren) at risk
  • Reptiles and amphibians at risk
  • Bats at risk
  • Small mammals at risk
  • Terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates at risk
  • Freshwater fish at risk
  • American Fisheries Society’s species of concern
  • Depleted anadromous fish (e.g., shad spp., sturgeon)
  • Depleted marine invertebrates (e.g., horseshoe crab)
  • Sensitive aquatic species

Glossary of Terms

Guidelines for Selecting Wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need (as developed by the IAFWA)

The TWW Committee’s State Wildlife Grants Work Group offers the following suggestions to states on 1) Criteria they should consider when defining the focus and scope of their plans in terms of species addressed, with emphasis on defining “species with greatest conservation need”, and 2) Resources that states can use to help identify species that meet the criteria. This information can be posted on a web site designed to disseminate information to states developing their Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategies.

  1. CRITERIA to consider:

    1. For defining overall Focus and Scope of species included in State Plans:
      1. Full array of wildlife species
      2. Species of greatest conservation need
      3. Species with low and declining populations
      4. Species indicative of the diversity and health of the state’s wildlife
      5. Species whose needs are not being met through other funding sources
    2. For defining species with greatest conservation need:
      1. Endangered, threatened and candidate species (federal or state)
      2. Imperiled species (Globally rare)
      3. Declining species
      4. Endemic species
      5. Disjunct species
      6. Vulnerable species
      7. Species with small, localized “at-risk” populations
      8. Species with limited dispersal
      9. Species with fragmented or isolated populations
      10. Species of special, or conservation, concern
      11. Focal species (keystone species, wide-ranging species, species with specific needs)
      12. Indicator species
      13.  “Responsibility” species (i.e. species that have their center of range within a state)
      14. Concentration areas (e.g. migratory stopover sites, bat roosts / maternity sites)
    3. Other issues:
      1. Consider habitats / biotic communities, which include plants, that serve as “umbrellas” for multiple species. A habitat/vegetation approach can improve efficiency in managing for multiple species and serve as a way to conserve more common species.
      2. Species may be organized according to “tiers” of rarity or focus
  2. WEB RESOURCES to consult:

    1. NatureServe Explorer (Global- and state-level ranking system, federal status and much more)
    2. State Natural Heritage Programs (State-level ranking system and expertise)
    3. Federal Endangered Species Act
    4. State-level endangered species laws, regulations and policy
    5. IUCN -The World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species
    6. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (Joint Ventures) (Waterbirds) (Waterfowl)  (Bird Conservation Plans)  (Shorebirds)  (Northern Bobwhite)  (Species Assessments)
    7. Partners-in-Flight (Bird Conservation Plans)  (Species Assessment Database)
    8. The Nature Conservancy – Conservation By Design / Ecoregional Plans\
    9. Audubon WatchList
    10. Audubon Important Bird Areas
    11. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Birds of Conservation Concern
    12. Forest Service Sensitive Species Lists
    13. Bureau of Land Management Sensitive Species Lists  (see Offices & Centers web sites.)
    14. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (see Regional Working Groups.)
    15. Bat Conservation International
    16. The Xerces Society (Invertebrate conservation)
    17. American Fisheries Society (Marine Stocks At Risk of Extinction)
    18. NOAA Anadromous and Marine Fisheries
    19. NOAA Marine Mammal Program
    20. NOAA Sea Turtle Protection and Conservation
    21. USGS Biological Resources Division (see Regional Office projects, including regional species status lists and monitoring programs.)
    22. Military Installation Natural Resource Plans and Conservation Targets
    23. International / Border Country Lists and Plans
    24. Regional Lists and Plans (e.g. NE Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee Wildlife Species of Conservation Concern) (Waterbirds)
    25. Local Plans (e.g. watersheds, biodiversity)
  3. LOCAL EXPERTS to consult:

    1. Local taxa experts
    2. University faculty
    3. Specialists in other agencies
    4. Fish and wildlife scientists and ecologists in neighboring states, countries