Wyoming officials have long been trying to reform the Endangered Species Act. Just last week, Wyoming Game and Fish Deputy Director testified to a Senate committee why more funding is needed. A new online application tool hopes to aid wildlife managers with budget needs for individual species.
Wyoming is home to 229 species on the state’s threatened species list, including the sage grouse, grizzly bears and white-tailed prairie dogs. Managers track species recovery and calculate how much to spend on an annual basis. The app, called Recovery Explorer, hopes to help managers on these decisions.
The app takes data from past budgets and calculates how much money to spend on a selected species based on the likelihood of saving it from extinction.
Tim Male, a conservation biologist who helped with the development of the application, said the amount of money required to manage threatened species can be overwhelming to managers, and this app is designed to help.
“A whole set of tools that help managers take a whole pile of potential decisions and understand the space between of the very best decisions, the very most cost effect or high impact or likely to succeed decisions and stuff at the bottom,” said Male.
Male said the app can help improve the current system.
“This allows you to save dramatically more species because you don’t lose track of species that are in bad shape, you don’t lose track of the budget needs of the species needs, you don’t lose track of your past investments,” he said.
Male said Recovery Explorer is just good record keeping that offers best budget options to avoid extinction. The application was developed by researchers at Arizona State University in collaboration with conservation nonprofits and Fish and Wildlife with a goal to help wildlife managers understand how to maximize the management of threatened species with a finite budget.