Phase II of the SWAP 2015 Update is underway. Phase II includes: actual writing of the SWAP document for the regional conservation strategies developed under Phase I; evaluating our performance in meeting the objectives of SWAP 2005 and those of State Wildlife Grant (SWG) funded projects; identifying lessons learned through these SWG projects; developing a draft and final SWAP 2015 Update document; and conducting public review for these documents.

Ascent Environmental was selected as our contractor to assist with the Phase II process. Once under contract, they are tasked to:

  • Review and standardize the Miradi files created to document and model the regional conservation strategies.
  • Upload Miradi files to Miradi Share – a newly developed cloud-based data system that enables us to integrate the regional data into statewide information.
  • Complete regional strategy development especially for the targeted habitats that span over multiple conservation units.
  • Review all the SWG funded projects between 2005 and 2013 and identify progress, results, challenges, area for improvement and future recommendations.
  • Update the SWAP 2005 Plan and create the draft and final SWAP 2015 Update.
  • Provide for public review and conduct public meetings for those documents.

CDFW is also working with University of California, Davis, to assess vegetation vulnerability to the climate change. The analysis will complement the taxa specific vulnerability assessments that were completed, or are in near completion, as part of the updates to the Species of Special Concern reports issued by the Department. The targeted conservation species under a state wildlife action plan (of any state) are called as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)”, and in the case of California, it is the Department’s responsibility to identify these priority species. For the SWAP 2015 Update, the list of SGCN is comprised of the Species of Special Concern along with CA state and federally listed and candidate species.

We are finalizing schedule for two additional scoping meetings that will be presented for tribal communities via WebEx on June 17th and 18th, 2014. Nearly two hundred invitation letters were sent to tribal members identified by the Department. Coordination and strengthening partnerships with tribes and First Nations is a priority for this project as expressed in the SWAP 2015 Update vision document.

We are planning to begin Phase III (the last phase) of the SWAP 2015 Update later this year. Phase III will involve developing eight companion plans associated with the main SWAP 2015 document. Companion plans focus on actions that can be better undertaken in collaboration with other agencies, organizations, private landowners and other partners. These actions complement the SWAP 2015 Update and expand implementation of conservation strategies beyond the Department. The benefit is increased coordination, improved resources and data sharing, and better alignment of planning, policies, and regulations – which all contribute to improve conservation effectiveness. The companion plans will be organized by the following focal topics: Agriculture; Commercial & Recreational Uses; Energy Development; Forests & Rangelands; Land Use Planning; Transportation Planning; Tribal Lands; and Water Management.

We are continuing to make progress and are pleased to report that we are on schedule to finalize the SWAP 2015 Update by October 2015.