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Southeast Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need


Southeast RSGCN Species Lists

The following two different AirTable views contain all 959 Southeast RSGCN species.

Grid Table View Gallery Tile View

Executive Summary

In 2018-2019, the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (SEAFWA) Wildlife Diversity Committee (WDC or Committee) developed a list of Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN) to enhance their ability to work collaboratively and proactively to sustain populations of both endemic and shared Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) across the southeast U.S. Regional work can enhance efficiency and conservation effectiveness to promote recovery and prevent the need to list where possible through shared expertise, data collection and analysis, regional information availability, and coordinated actions. The list can guide and facilitate collaboration with conservation partners in the region and leverage support from diverse funding sources by presenting information on many of the unique, rare, and declining biodiversity shared across states of the southeastern United States

The SEAFWA RSGCN list captures the remarkable endemism and biodiversity of the region, particularly in aquatic habitats, and highlights species that would benefit from regional collaborative conservation. The shared RSGCN account for 25 percent of the nearly 2,100 SGCN from seven taxonomic groups reviewed. The list can be sorted to deliver customized priorities:

Taxonomic breakdown of southeast RSGCN. All vertebrate SGCN from 15 states’ State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) and a few invertebrate taxa were considered. Of the approximately 6,700 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, nearly 2,100 SGCN were evaluated. Of that, 960 species met the RSGCN criteria.

Notably, nearly one-third of the RSGCN are fish and another third are mussels and crayfish, reflecting the high aquatic biodiversity within the SEAFWA region.

Regional Responsibility and Conservation Concern. Nearly one-third of the RSGCN were considered Very High Concern, 44% High Concern, and the remaining 25% were Moderate Concern. Seventy-seven percent of the Very High Concern RSGCN are aquatic species (fish, mussels and crayfish). Seventy three percent of the Very High Concern RSGCN are SEAFWA endemic species. Of the 19 RSGCN that are Very High Concern but less than 50% regional responsibility, 10 are federally listed species.

Each of the species classifications – shared, narrow-range, regional geographic responsibility, conservation concern – can be used to set collaboration priorities in the southeast region.

Conclusions and Recommendations. Updating the RSGCN list at regular intervals will maintain valuable current information for actions at the regional scale. Repeating the process between SWAP revisions can inform SWAPs as well as be informed by SWAPs’ SGCN lists for the next RSGCN revision. Improvements and refinements to the process and methods are encouraged to capture additional criteria and emerging issues that are important to the region. The WDC recommended these actions:

There was an overwhelming consensus that there is a need for additional resources to allow state agencies to effectively address the needs of fish and wildlife diversity conservation in the southeast. Specifically, most RSGCN taxa – especially invertebrates – have critical data gaps that, if filled, would inform more effective on-the-ground conservation and monitoring for success. Coordination with marine conservation practitioners was also recommended. Additional detailed suggestions by taxa teams are included in this report.

Information about the RSGCN and their key habitats and threats, gathered at the regional scale, can directly inform the next SWAP revision and generate more effective conservation actions taken at the regional scale. Best management practices, standardized data collection, and policy, regulation, or law enforcement can be developed at a regional scale and collaboratively implemented.

The list can be used to communicate state fish and wildlife diversity conservation priorities to their many conservation partners. USFWS can use the RSGCN list in their workplan development and schedule or identifying at-risk species. The Natural Resource Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service can use the list to identify focal or sensitive species. NatureServe and their state partners can prioritize rank updates for the highest concern species, particularly if emerging threats have been identified. This list can also be used to foster increased communication and collaboration between state agencies, universities, natural heritage programs, land trusts, and other conservation partners.