News Department

NJDEP Fish & Wildlife seeks public comment on the Species of Greatest Conservation Need list

Comments are due by May 10, 2024 at 5pm

NEW JERSEY – NJDEP Fish & Wildlife is updating New Jersey’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). The SWAP is focused on the conservation of species and habitats to prevent them from becoming more rare and costly to protect or restore.

These at-risk birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates are acknowledged as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) due to their vulnerability to threats and low and/or declining populations or data gaps. Without actions to conserve them, SGCN are likely to decline further over the next ten years, possibly leading them closer to endangerment or extirpation. The updated plan is due for submission to the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 2025.

The first step to updating the SWAP is updating the list of SGCN for New Jersey. The data sources and process used for selection and reevaluating the process for SGCN selection were reviewed by the public (comment period ended September 5, 2023) and comments received were addressed. NJFW is now seeking public comments on the updated SGCN list.

Public comment is an important component in addressing the habitat and management needs of New Jersey’s Wildlife. This is the second of several opportunities for public comment towards the conservation of our state’s most imperiled species. We look forward to hearing from you.


New Jersey Fish and Wildlife (NJFW) first evaluated all of New Jersey’s native, indigenous wildlife species and naturalized species using the best available assessments of their conservation statuses and trends in the state, the northeastern U.S., and beyond.

The resources and criteria used to select SGCN in the 2018 Plan were reviewed and updated and include federal and state listing statuses, global, national, and regional status assignments, published assessments by taxonomic expert groups, and taxonomic conservation plans (see Appendix A).

Like their 2018 Plan, Appendix A identifies the criteria used to screen species for SGCN selection. Using those criteria, all native species were screened, and criteria placed them into one of three categories.

The three categories are:

SGCN – species meeting one or more of the selection criteria.

Data Deficient SGCN – species listed as undetermined through the status review process.

Not SGCN – the species is considered stable in NJ or did not meet any assessment triggers.

NJFW Taxa Teams, made up of biologists from the Bureau of Marine Fisheries, Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries, Endangered and Nongame Species Program, and Bureau of Wildlife Management, then reviewed the screened list (fatal flaw analysis) to verify that species were placed in the proper categories. To move a species from its initial screened category to another, biologists utilized a set of standardized justifications (see Appendix A).

Public Comment

To submit comments on the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) list for 2024, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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