Fish & Wildlife Department Aims High
Sportsmen and women help Fish & Wildlife staff protect wildlife for all Vermonters. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is responsible for the conservation of all fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the people of Vermont. Through sporting generated fees and taxes, Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff have developed programs that engage and benefit all Vermonters to minimize practices that threaten fish, wildlife and the habitats they depend on. Vermont state game wardens and wildlife biologists work together to protect wildlife to ensure that all the state’s fished, hunted and trapped wildlife species remain common and abundant for future generations.
Hunters, together with a wide swath of diverse supporters throughout the state, help the department accomplish its conservation mission. Hunter and recreational shooter derived funds and hunters/trappers who submit wildlife related data ensure good population monitoring efforts and scientific management for many species. In addition, these funds and data help guide important habitat conservation work and prioritize effective methods to address key threats like climate change and development that affect all species and Vermonters.
Listed below are a few of the broad range of activities the department regularly engages in to protect and conserve Vermont’s wildlife:
- Landscape Conservation: The department developed Vermont Conservation Design, a landscape map with conservation strategies to protect forest blocks and habitat connectivity across the state and region to provide a home for all of our native wildlife.
- Community and Land Use Planning: The department provides the most up-to-date information on conservation science and resources for implementing wildlife planning initiatives to towns and non-governmental organizations.
- Land Protection through Acts 250 and 248, Wetlands permits, etc.: The department protects critical wildlife habitat such as deer wintering areas, American beech stands for black bear food, and wetlands for more than 27 species of ducks and other species such as beaver, otter, moose, and muskrat. Between 1995 and 2018, more than 13,000 acres were protected.
- Land Acquisition: Working with partners like The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Conservation Fund, Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Club and others, the department established Wildlife Management Areas, now totaling 100 areas, permanently protecting more than 130,000 publicly accessible acres of some of the best wildlife habitat in the state.
- State Lands Management: Working with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Vermont Fish & Wildlife manages lands owned by both organizations for:
- Hunted species such as deer, moose, grouse, turkey, woodcock, waterfowl, and black bear (see article on Habitat Needs of Deer & Moose);
- Other species and communities such as bats, pollinators, reptiles and amphibians, non-game birds, rare plants and unique natural communities;
- Ecosystem functions such as clean water, clean air and forest products.
- Partner with the Agency of Transportation: Vermont Fish & Wildlife partners with AOT to identify and install wildlife crossing structures improving both wildlife connectivity and public safety.
- Private Lands Outreach: Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff work with landowners to improve wildlife habitat, increase public access and encourage long-term conservation on privately owned properties.
- Research and Conservation of Non-game Species, Rare and Threatened Species, Native Plants, and Natural Communities:
- Spiny softshell turtle conservation;
- Butterfly, dragonfly, and native bee surveys;
- Rare snake surveys, monitoring, and conservation;
- Mussel surveys;
- American marten and Canada lynx monitoring;
- Native plant and natural community surveys.
- Wildlife Disease Monitoring:
- Disease monitoring for all species, including birds, furbearers, bats, big game species, turtles, snakes, frogs and salamanders;
- Sampling for Canine Distemper, rodenticide in fisher, and lead in bald eagles.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff do all this work because they care about all wildlife, and we know you do too. For more information on the department’s efforts, please visit: www.vtfishandwildlife.com and check out various opportunities to learn more or participate in our work through workshops, camps, community walks, WMA events, or our many partner organizations. Thank you for all you do helping to conserve Vermont’s species!
Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff work with landowners to encourage long-term conservation and public access on privately owned lands.