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Georgia Protected Species List Revision
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Georgia protected species list? The Georgia protected species list includes all
plant and animal species for which legal protection is provided under the Georgia Endangered Wildlife
Act of 1973 or the Georgia Wildflower Preservation Act of 1973. Under state law, the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has responsibility for periodically reviewing this list and
providing recommendations for revisions as needed.
Why does the protected species list need to be updated? The protected plant and animal
lists have not received a comprehensive review and update since 1992 and therefore do not reflect the
most up-to-date information available to the Wildlife Resources Division of Georgia DNR. An
accurate list of state protected plants and animals is an integral component of our efforts to conserve
Georgia's wildlife. If the list is not accurate, conservation efforts may be misdirected.
What information is considered when determining the status of a species? A species
can be listed for any of the following reasons: 1) the present or threatened alteration of its habitat, 2)
overutilization for commercial, sporting, scientific, or educational purposes, 3) disease or predation, 4)
the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, or 5) other natural or manmade factors affecting its
continued existence. The severity of these factors is considered when determining whether the species
should be listed as endangered, threatened, rare, or unusual.
Are endangered, threatened, rare, and unusual species afforded the same
regulatory protections? Yes. The rules do not differentiate among the different status categories
with respect to protection. However, endangered species should generally be the highest priority for
voluntary conservation efforts, followed by threatened species, rare species, and unusual species.
How does listing affect the rights of landowners? Georgia law specifically states that rules
and regulations related to the protection of state protected species shall not affect rights in private
property. Prohibitions (see FAQ below) are limited to the capture, killing, or selling of protected
species and the protection of the habitat of these species on public lands.
What acts are prohibited for protected animals? It is unlawful to harass, capture, kill, or
otherwise directly cause the death of any protected animal species, except as specifically authorized by
law or regulation adopted by the Board of Natural Resources. Protected animal species or parts of
protected animal species cannot be sold, purchased, or possessed unless authorized by a permit issued
from the Department of Natural Resources. The destruction of the habitat of any protected animal
species on public lands is prohibited.
What acts are prohibited for protected plants? It is unlawful to cut, dig, pull up, or
otherwise remove any protected plant species from public land without an appropriate permit from the
Department of Natural Resources. It is unlawful to sell protected plants collected on private land
without permission from the landowner. It is unlawful to transport state protected plants that were
collected on private lands without a tag supplied by the Department and written evidence of landowner
Draft as of 1/10/2006
What is the penalty for violating the Wildflower Preservation Act or the
Endangered Wildlife Act? Any person violating these acts shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,
and if proven guilty, punished for a misdemeanor.
Can a state protected species stop development? No. Georgia law specifically states that
rules and regulations related to the protection of state protected species shall not impede construction
of any nature. However, the Wildlife Resources Division routinely makes recommendations to guide
more environmentally friendly development in areas where state protected plant and animal species are
known to occur.
How will listing actually protect species from extinction? Listing will not ensure that
species will not go extinct, but should result in increased efforts to protect and recover them. For
example, the protected plant and animal lists are increasingly used to guide voluntary conservation
efforts by conservation groups and government agencies. In addition, protected species status is often
used to justify grant funding for research and conservation projects. Finally, prohibitions specified in
the Endangered Wildlife Act of 1973 and Wildflower Preservation Act of 1973 can be used to deter the
illegal harvest of plants and animals and protect habitats on public lands.
Will the addition of more species to the state protected list result in more federally
listed species in Georgia? No. While state law provides that federally protected species are
automatically protected at the state level, addition to the federal Endangered Species list is a
completely separate process. Furthermore, if state listing results in increased conservation efforts for a
declining species, it may be possible to avoid federal listing for a species that may have otherwise
required protection at the federal level.
Will species be removed from the protected species list? We will review the status of all
currently listed state protected plant and animal species as well as species that may warrant addition to
the list. If the best available biological information indicates that the species does not meet the listing
criteria specified by DNR Rules, then it will be removed from the list. Because part of the revision
process will include consideration of comments and data that may not yet be available to the
Department, it is not possible to indicate how many species will be added or removed from the list at
this time.
How can I nominate a species or provide comments on the 2006 revision of the
protected species list? Nomination forms can be downloaded from the Wildlife Resources
Division website ( and can be submitted electronically, by mail, or during a
public meeting that will be held on March 15 2006. There will also be a public comment period that
will provide an opportunity for submitting written and oral comments on proposed status
determinations. See official timeline for more details.
How is this revision related to the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy
(CWCS) that Georgia DNR just completed? Revising the state protected species list was one
of the highest conservation priorities outlined in the wildlife conservation strategy (also known as the
Georgia Wildlife Action Plan). Furthermore, the wealth of up-to-date information on the status,
distribution, and threats to Georgia’s plants and animals that was compiled for development of the
strategy makes this an ideal time to revise the list.
Draft as of 1/10/2006