State Wildlife Action Plan receives federal approval

RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently received approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the 10-year update of the North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan ­— a comprehensive document that identifies the state’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need and conservation priorities for fish and wildlife species and their habitats through the next decade.

The Wildlife Action Plan is posted on the Commission’s website at

Over the last three years the Commission led a comprehensive review and revision of the 2005 Wildlife Action Plan with partners from state and federal agencies, conservation organizations and citizen stakeholders. The current version describes the threats facing Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats and recommends measures to address current and emerging threats through 2025, when the plan will be revised. Implementation of these recommendations will help prevent the need to list species for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The plan also catalogs ongoing efforts to protect and conserve the state’s fish and wildlife species and their habitats — from mammals and birds to fish, crustaceans, reptiles and amphibians.

The Wildlife Action Plan was created in response to a 2002 congressional requirement that each state must have a comprehensive conservation strategy to be eligible for federal matching funds under the State Wildlife Grants Program. Each year, North Carolina receives approximately $1.3 million to support implementation of conservation actions recommended in the plan.

Projects include survey and monitoring efforts that help fish and wildlife biologists understand the conservation status of nongame species in the state. State Wildlife Grants also support enhancement and restoration efforts such as propagation and release of rare species into native habitats or conservation of existing populations of rare species and their habitats.

For more information about the plan or the comment process, contact Cindy Carr online at, by telephone at 919-707-0227, or by mail at N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Attn: Cindy Carr, 1721 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1721.


Free fishing


On July 4, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission invites anglers and would-be anglers of all ages to go fishing — for free.

From 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., everyone in North Carolina — resident and non-residents alike — can fish in any public body of water, including coastal waters, without purchasing a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege.

Although no fishing license is required, all other fishing regulations, such as size and creel limits and lure restrictions, still apply.

To give anglers a better chance of catching fish, the Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state — including trout and channel catfish. The agency also provides access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas. The interactive fishing and boating maps on the Commission’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free, that are open to the public.

Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly and started in 1994, North Carolina’s annual free fishing day always falls on July 4. On all other days of the year, a fishing license is not required for anglers 15 years and younger, but anyone age 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters.

For information, call the Commission at 1-888-248-6834.