Idaho Fish and Game is convening regional working groups around the state in March and April to continue the conversation started during the Wildlife Summit in August.
The groups are made up of hunters, anglers and other individuals who attended the Summit and who said they wanted to help Fish and Game find ways to improve wildlife conservation in Idaho. But anyone who is interested may participate.
The first of many challenges to be addressed at the regional working group meetings will be identifying strategies to boost funding for the Wildlife Diversity Program. The program works with Idaho residents and conservation partners to maintain natural, self-sustaining populations of native "nongame" wildlife species to benefit Idaho residents and the state's visitors.
Maintaining the state's species diversity is part of Fish and Game legal mandate to protect and manage all of the state's fish and wildlife species, and conserving all species means all species benefit, whether hunted, fished, trapped or not.
The Wildlife Diversity Program receives no funding from the sale of hunting or fishing licenses. Its budget is funded through the sale of wildlife license plates, voluntary state tax check-offs and other donations. This income is then used as matching funds to leverage federal State Wildlife Grants and challenge cost shares.
Fish and Game and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission are eager to build on the momentum of the Wildlife Summit. And just as with the Summit, the Idaho regional working group participants represent a diversity of wildlife interests and viewpoints, including hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers, and will work to prioritize action items that will best help meet the public's needs, desires and expectations for wildlife management in Idaho.
Fish and Game anticipates the groups will meet three or four times and will have their work completed by May. The public is encouraged to attend and participate in regional workgroup meetings. For information or to get involved contact the nearest regional office.
For information about Idaho's Wildlife Diversity Program go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/nongame/. For information about the Wildlife Summit go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/?getpage=320.