State Wildlife Action Plan

A plan for conserving California's wildlife resources while responding to environmental challenges

decorative banner with multiple images of wildlife

CDFW is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the California State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) 2015, as part of the SWAP 2025 update process. Please stay tuned for opportunities to engage. Meanwhile, consider participating in this short online survey to help CDFW understand the current uses of the SWAP 2015.

State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP)

California’s distinctive topography and climate have given rise to a remarkable diversity of habitats that support a multitude of plant and animal species. In fact, California has more species than any other state in the U.S. and also has the greatest number of species that occur nowhere else in the world. Many of the places where wildlife thrive are the same as those valued for recreation and other human activities. To ensure a sustainable future for wildlife – and the enjoyment of wildlife by generations to come – there is a need for a collaborative approach to conservation.

The State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) examines the health of wildlife and prescribes actions to conserve wildlife and vital habitat before they become more rare and more costly to protect. The plan also promotes wildlife conservation while furthering responsible development and addressing the needs of a growing human population.

SWAP 2025 Update Information and Additional Resources

External Partner, Tribal, and Public Engagement

CDFW is conducting a review and update of the California SWAP from July 2022 to October 2025. CDFW is currently soliciting external partner, Tribal, and public feedback on the SWAP 2015 via this short online survey.

The SWAP 2025 Update presents an opportunity to conduct a progress evaluation and incorporate new information and lessons learned since 2015. The revision process includes several phases as outlined below:

  • Phase 1: CDFW scientists and managers statewide to evaluate progress since 2015 and to develop a draft SWAP 2025; Solicit external partner SWAP feedback and perspectives via an online survey (July 2022 - December 2024*).
  • Phase 2: Conduct a public review of the draft SWAP 2025 and ensure all interested parties, including Tribes, external partners, and the public, are provided opportunities to contribute suggestions (December 2024 - March 2025*).
  • Phase 3: Finalize, submit, and publish the SWAP 2025 (March - October 2025*).

For more information, please check this SWAP webpage regularly and consider joining our mailing list by signing up below. Public meeting information to be posted here when available and shared via email.

*Dates subject to change

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    Data Layers

    Visit BIOS and click on the “BIOS 6 Viewer (Public & Secure)” button. Then, enter “State Wildlife Action Plan” into the “Add Data: BIOS” search box at the top of the screen. The available GIS data includes SWAP province boundaries, aquatic targets, and terrestrial targets. Clicking on any of the layers will open a popup box that allows users to download the GIS data and metadata. Additionally, you can view these layers on a CDFW SWAP Map hosted on ArcGIS.These provinces, conservation units, and targets are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 of the 2015 SWAP 2015.

    User Guidance for Prospective Grantees and Others

    If you have ever applied for a State Wildlife Grant, you likely needed to consider how your proposed project would address the objectives of the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). For those and others who wonder how their conservation projects can help implement SWAP, here are some basic guidelines:

    Will the project cover most of the state? If so, see whether there is alignment between the goal of the project vs. the goals listed in the chapter regarding statewide conservation strategies (PDF) (see page 4-3).


    If the project cannot be considered “statewide”, determine the ecoregion(s) in which the project is to be sited. You can use this GIS map tool. (Note: this guidance applies to all but anadromous fishes, which are covered in Vol. 1, Chapter 6 (PDF).)

    1. In the tool, enter the location name (e.g., for a city, county, park, etc.) or project coordinates in the gray search box (top right-hand side of the webpage). (You could also just click around on the map, but it may be easiest to use the search function.)p
    2. Then, click on the black dot that appears on the map. This will prompt the white box that appears beneath the search box to display the terrestrial and aquatic conservation unit(s), which can be viewed by clicking on the small blue arrow button that appears at the top of the white box.p

    Make note of the SWAP province(s), which correspond to SWAP 2015 Vol. 1, Chapters 5.1-5.7, as well as the terrestrial and aquatic conservation units, which correspond to the conservation targets prioritized in SWAP 2015 for the specific province(s) covering your project area.

    If the conservation target(s) do include your target habitat or the habitat in which your target species is typically found, it is possible that SWAP 2015 does not consider it to be a major priority (“conservation strategies were fully developed only for the targets that contained the greatest number of SCGN and that were most immediately threatened”) or does not prioritize it because it is covered by another plan (for example, through the Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) program).

    In this case, check to see whether your target species is listed as SGCN in SWAP 2015 Appendix C (PDF). If it is not, SWAP 2015 acknowledges that it is “an adaptive management plan that will continually be updated, revised, and improved, based on the input and deliberations of all those involved in wildlife conservation.” It makes sense that threats to species and habitats will change over time, so you could still make a case for your project, given the latest information that has yet to be incorporated into SWAP.