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Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program (formerly Federal Assistance Division) Staff Participation at Program Meetings
Southwest Region, September 30, 2007
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On October 11-12, WSFR Region 2 staff hosted a meeting of State Wildlife Grant (SWG) Program grant specialists in Mesa, Arizona, to discuss administration of the SWG Program now that the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy/State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) process is over and significant revisions have been made to the SWG Guidelines.  Also discussed was the role of the Service in implementation of the SWAPs, both through assistance to the states and through incorporation of the SWAPs into Service planning and programs.  Region staff compiled, edited, and distributed the notes to all participants.

Staff downloaded the re-submittals of the remaining nine SWAPs (American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, and Ohio) that had been conditionally approved and reviewed them for the National Acceptance Advisory Team (NAAT) meeting held in Albuquerque in December, 2006.  WSFR staff participated in the NAAT meeting, both in reviewing the resubmitted Plans and in the discussions of administration of the State Wildlife Grant Program, Plan implementation, and future review and revision of the Plans.  The NAAT recommended all nine plans be forwarded to the Director for final approval.

On December 7-8, WSFR staff attended a "SW State Wildlife Action Plan and Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) Workshop" in Phoenix, Arizona, sponsored by the Department of Defense (DOD).  The workshop was attended by representatives of various military bases and state wildlife agencies located in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, as well as various representatives of the Department of Defense, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Forest Service, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.  The purpose of the workshop was to facilitate the integration of the DOD INRMP's with the SWAPs and to identify pilot projects that can be implemented that would integrate the two types of plans.  On May 8-9, WSFR staff attended a workshop sponsored by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) with participation by the Service, to facilitate integration of DOD INRMP and the SWAPs. 

WSFR staff made a presentation on the State Wildlife Grant program at the Region 2 Fisheries Project Leaders’ meeting in San Antonio in February, 2007, as part of a Regional effort to integrate the Service's habitat conservation and program focus areas within the identified SWAP priorities.

WSFR staff attended a portion of the Region 2 Refuge Managers Meeting on March 8, to participate in a panel discussion on Strategic Habitat Conservation, which included presentations on Focal Areas, State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs), and Joint Ventures.   Regarding the Service's role in SWAP implementation, the management, research and survey activities currently being carried out on National Wildlife Refuges in Region 2 are very likely consistent with the priorities identified in the SWAPS, and refuge managers may find they are already well into SWAP implementation.

WSFR staff attended the NAAT discussion held prior to the North American Conference to review national guidance related to revised SWAPs and meeting the 10-year state review requirement of the enabling legislation.

WSFR staff, along with Brian Hanson, Strategic Habitat Conservation Coordinator, met with the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (USGS) at New Mexico State University to discuss Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC).  The recently completed the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Program (SWReGAP) (which included New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada) had worked with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in applying their gap analysis skills to development of the New Mexico Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (aka State Wildlife Action Plan).  We met with them to discuss SHC, the SWReGAP, and the New Mexico Plan, and to explore the ways to assist the Service in implementation of SHC in Region 2.  WSFR staff also met at the Regional Office.   Gap Analysis capabilities were discussed and possible applications to assist the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in implementation of Strategic Habitat Conservation.

In November, Harold Namminga, Fisheries Program grant manager, was selected as one of three regional representatives on a national WSFR planning team.  WSFR Strategic Plan is a national effort for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs that involves states and other program partners.  The WSFR Joint Policy Task Force is overseeing the strategic planning process with participation by State and Service staffs.  WSFR staff participated with three different writing teams in drafting the National Strategic Plan.  Work progressed through several conference calls with all strategic plan committee members reviewing and revising the draft plan.  WSFR staff attended a meeting in Denver, Colorado, where committee members reviewed and revised the draft strategic plan.

WSFR staff attended the Western States Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) meeting in Leavenworth, Washington.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department LIP coordinator participated in the meeting, along with representatives from nine other western states.  The State coordinators each reported on their program and discussed program issues.  The WSFR staff provided guidance on matching funds, environmental compliance, and mitigation banks.  Other topics included the value of LIP to ecosystem services such as carbon sequestering and the funding outlook for the program.

On January 15-18, WSFR staff attended the Federal Assistance Coordination Team meeting conducted at the NCTC to review consistency in policy and procedures for administration of WSFR Program awards Servicewide. 

Two representatives from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) met with WSFR staff in the Regional Office to discuss Service policies and administrative procedures.  The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss TPWD issues with the newly hired Sport Fish Restoration FA coordinator, Tim Birdsong. 

WSFR staff attended the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Portland, Oregon; March 20-24, 2007.  This conference is a national forum for state, industry, environmental group and other Federal agencies representatives to discuss concerns, many of which affect regional grant administration.  Significant discussions affecting Federal Assistance Division grant programs occurred at the Threatened and Endangered Species Policy Committee, Multi-States Grants Committee, Fish and Wildlife Trust Funds Committee, Teaming with Wildlife Committee, and Hunting and Shooting Sports Participation Committee, among others.

WSFR staff participated in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's annual Coastal Wetlands project leaders’ meeting where proposal ideas were discussed.  The attendees also boated to four Coastal Wetlands Grant projects around Galveston Bay to monitor the progress of restoration.

WSFR staff attended the WSFR Chiefs’ Meeting, held April 2-5 in Sonoma, California, to discuss national issues that affect regional grant administration.  The meeting also included state representatives from each of the regions.  Arizona's Federal Aid Coordinator, Melba Davidson, represented Region 2 state interests.  The meeting also included a concurrent session with the Joint Policy Task Force to discuss the Strategic Plan being developed for the WSFR grant programs.  Meeting notes will be reviewed using Group Systems and then forwarded to all participants.

WSFR staff represented the Region 2 WSFR program at the ARD meeting for Migratory Birds and State Programs, held at NCTC on April 16-19.  Region 2 Refuges staff also attended to represent the regional migratory bird issues. A full agenda of issues were discussed with meeting notes to be distributed.  

Staff participated on the Land as Match team considering questions regarding the use of land value as match in various grant programs, with a focus on the State Wildlife Grant program.  This involved several conference calls and review of pertinent regulations and draft guidance.

Staff attended the Tribal-Federal Gathering hosted by the Southwest Strategy Tribal Relations Support Team.

Staff met with Santa Clara Pueblo staff to assist them with completion of grant processing for their FY 2007 Tribal Wildlife Grant award.

Staff participated in an Administrative Workshop held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 7-10.  State Coordinators from five Region 2 state resource agencies attended.  NCTC staff presented an Advanced Grants Management Short Course.  Regional WSFR staff presented briefings on issues of national and regional interest.  This forum enhanced our relationship with our state partners through the ensuing open discussions and exchange of ideas.

On August 21-23, staff participated in the Hunter Education / Aquatic Education / Outreach information meeting for Grant Specialists hosted by the Northeast Region, in Hadley, Massachusetts. 

Staff attended the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division meeting in Athens to discuss Sport Fish Restoration grant activities with several project leaders.

WSFR staff assisted the Washington office in drafting the Department Manual chapter for the Clean Vessel Act.

WSFR staff participated in the Endangered Species Section 6 nontraditional programs proposal ranking meeting conducted by Ecological Services personnel.  From this Region, staff reviewed and ranked 1 proposal for HCP Planning, 1 proposal for HCP Land Acquisition, and 3 proposals for Recovery Land Acquisition.  The proposals will be forwarded to Washington for further ranking and award selection.

WSFR staff completed the workforce planning exercise and provided a draft to Tom Bauer for discussion at the October 5 RDT Retreat.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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