Sagebrush lizard

Species of Conservation Priority

North Dakota's Wildlife Action Plan focuses on species that are considered Species of Conservation Priority. Information relating to the distribution, abundance, habitat requirements, threats, management goals and monitoring techniques for each of these species is included in the Wildlife Action Plan. They are categorized into three levels according to their conservation need:

Level I: These are species which are in decline and receive little or no monetary support or conservation efforts. North Dakota Game and Fish Department has a clear obligation to use SWG funding to implement conservation actions that directly benefit these species.

Level I species are those having a:

  • high level of conservation priority because of declining status either here or across their range
  • - or -
  • high rate of occurrence in North Dakota constituting the core of the species breeding range (i.e. “responsibility” species) but are at-risk range wide

Level II: North Dakota Game and Fish Department will use SWG funding to implement conservation actions to benefit these species if SWG funding for Level I species is sufficient or conservation needs have been met.

Level II species are those having a:

  • moderate level of conservation priority
  • - or -
  • high level of conservation priority but a substantial level of non-SWG funding is available to them

Level III: These are North Dakota’s species having a moderate level of conservation priority but are believed to be peripheral or non-breeding in North Dakota.

Note that federally threatened and endangered species are assigned a level II category because other non-SWG funding is available, such as the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. The important message to remember is regardless of level assignment, all species on the list are of concern for various reasons and there is an urgency to sustain them on the North Dakota landscape.

Currently there are 36 Level I species, 44 Level II species, and 35 Level III species.