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State Wildlife Action Plan 2019 Revisions

As per the 2017 Guidance for Wildlife Action Plan Review and Revision, Indiana’s 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) recently underwent a minor revision. The following is a description of what led to the revisions and the actual revisions themselves:
The revisions include additions and deletions to the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) as listed in the SWAP. Indiana maintains taxa specific Technical Advisory Committees (TAC). There is a TAC for each of the following taxa; Bird, Mammal, Fish, Herp and Mussel. The composition of each TAC is various academics, researchers and other taxa specific experts within the state. Each TAC is headed up by a Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist who specializes in the respective taxa. The TACs meet annually to review the SGCN list, discuss the status of species, evaluate the most recent data from surveys and studies and make recommendations for adding/removing species from Indiana’s SGCN list. These TACs weighed heavily in the creation of the SGCN as listed in the 2015 SWAP and the criteria by which recommendations are made have not deviated significantly from the initial listing in the SWAP. Furthermore, the TACs review and consideration of recent data, surveys and observations help make the SWAP the living document it is intended to be.

In November 2018, the following TAC recommended and Indiana DFW approved changes were presented to Indiana’s Natural Resources Commission.

The requested changes as approved by NRC in November 2018:

Species added to SGCN

Plains Gartersnake, Thamnophis radix:
The Plains Gartersnake (Thamnophis radix) is a prairie-dwelling species that reaches the eastern-most extent of its contiguous range in northwest Indiana. Historically, Plains Gartersnakes occurred in eight northwest Indiana counties; however, the species has been documented only in Lake and Porter counties in the past 15 years. Most modern records are from heavily developed areas in northern Lake County, and much of the habitat in the region where it historically occurred has been lost. Information is lacking in regard to its current status and distribution in Indiana. As a result, in 2017, the Indiana DNR’s Amphibian and Reptile Technical Advisory Committee voted to elevate Plains Gartersnakes to Special Concern status.

Species removed from SGCN

Pyramid Pigtoe Pleurobema rubrum, Orangefoot Pimpleback Plethobasus cooperianus, Pink Mucket Lampsilis abrupta, Tubercled Blossom Epioblasma torulosa torulosa, Longsolid Fusconaia subrotunda, and White Wartyback Plethobasus cicatricosus:
These six species of freshwater mussels are now all considered to be extirpated from the State of Indiana. Dating back to the 1970’s, freshwater mussel surveys have been completed at more than 5,000 sites in the waters of Indiana. Verifiable records of live individuals for any of the six species were not reported during any of this survey work. For most of these species, the last occurrence of a live specimen is not even known. Removing these six species from the state list of endangered invertebrates would provide a
more accurate list and bring more attention to those endangered invertebrate species still living within the state.

Northern Leopard Frog Lithobates pipiens:
Northern Leopard Frogs are broadly distributed across most of northern Indiana and parts of southeast Indiana, north of a line that runs approximately from Lafayette through Indianapolis to around Rising Sun in the southeast corner of the state. Northern Leopard Frogs experienced declines historically, but populations now appear to be stable and the frogs are seen in high frequency by researchers and field workers. Additionally, the species has responded positively to habitat restoration, indicating that habitat management may be used to further expand populations.

In addition to the changes above, the status of the five following species changed but they still remain a SGCN.

Species elevated from Special Concern to State Endangered

Little Brown Bat Myotis lucifugus, Northern Long-eared Myotis Myotis septentrionalis, Tri-colored Bat Perimyotis subflavus & Rufa Red Knot Calidris canutus rufa.

Species down listed from State Endangered to Special Concern

Osprey Pandion haliaetus