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Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program (formerly Federal Assistance Division) Participation in State Grant Activities
Southwest Region, September 30, 2007
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Staff received comments from the published DRAFT Environmental Assessment for the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Restoration project in the Rio Costilla.  Staff met with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, U.S. Forest Service and the FWS Region 2 NEPA Coordinator Steve Robertson to review suggested responses to comments from the published DRAFT Environmental Assessment for the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Restoration project in the Rio Costilla.  The aforementioned staff revised the Draft EA to incorporate/address comments received.

WSFR staff met with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, U.S. Forest Service (Carson National Forest), other FWS Endangered Species staff, Vermejo Ranch Park/Turner Enterprises, Inc., Trout Unlimited, and Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association/Rio Costilla Park personnel for the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Restoration project in the Rio Costilla drainage in Santa Fe.  The purpose of the meeting was to update all potential partners/participants in the trout restoration project, which included an update of the Environmental Assessment process, the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances process, hatchery production and stock of RGCT, Game Commission approval process, plans for stream renovation activities and status of various Federal and other grants for funding restoration activities.

A Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Rio Costilla Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Restoration project was completed and a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed by the Regional Director.   New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the U.S. Forest Service cooperated on the EA which addresses restoration of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the Rio Costilla watershed in northern New Mexico.  The proposed project is funded through the Sport Fish Restoration and State Wildlife Grant programs.

WSFR staff prepared a letter for the Regional Director regarding a Congressional inquiry concerning the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project in the Rio Costilla Drainage.

Staff assisted New Mexico Department of Game and Fish personnel with fisheries reclamation of Comanche Creek drainage within the Rio Costilla watershed of the Carson National Forest.  A piscicide (rotenone) was applied to kill out the nonnative fishes preparing the way for re-establishment of native fishes, particularly the sport fish Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout.  A project site review was also conducted to review activities associated with the Sport Fish Restoration Grant NM F-81-M, Native Trout Management.

Staff initiated a statewide Section 7 Biological Evaluation for proposed sport fish stockings in Oklahoma for the next 10 years.

WSFR staff prepared responses to 77 public comments received in connection with an Environmental Assessment related to a proposed expansion of public facilities at the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center in Kerrville, Texas.  Wildlife Restoration grant funds in the amount of $300,000 have been requested by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to construct a parking area, an air hall and other shooting-sports facilities to expand the existing target range site. 

WSFR presented an appreciation award to Bruce Taubert, retiring Assistant Director of Arizona Game and Fish Department, in recognition of his substantial career contributions to the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs.   The award was made at a retirement ceremony where more than 140 people attended.  Congratulations to Bruce on his retirement after a 30-year career with the Arizona agency where he achieved a national reputation for professionalism and his wildlife and fisheries conservation and management efforts.  

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was awarded a national Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant of $398,637 with nearly $200,000 in partner’s funds.  The grant proposes to acquire approximately 670 acres of coastal habitat including wetlands and riparian streams.  The project is in the San Antonio Bay system at the Guadalupe River Delta and will benefit migratory birds that use his area as a key breeding, stop-over and wintering habitat.  Completion of this project will help create a corridor of conserved lands.

WSFR staff participated in the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program proposal ranking process to benefit species on the Rio Grande. 

WSFR staff assisted the New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office with a fish health study conducted on the Rio Grande. 

WSFR staff attended debriefings for the Middle Rio Grande ESA collaborative program at the Bureau of Reclamation offices.

WSFR staff attended and participated with the Colorado River Aquatic Biologists meeting in Laughlin, Nevada.

WSFR staff attended the Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, where there was a variety of Aquatic Education, Hunter Education, and Outreach activities for the public.

WSFR staff and the Deputy Regional Director attended the dedication of Phase 2 facilities at the Corpus Christi City Marina which were funded through a Boating Infrastructure Grant Tier 2 award of $450,000.  Additional facilities at this marina have been funded though Big Tier 1 and Sport Fish Restoration boating access programs.  The funding has enabled the city to add 48 transient slips while leveraging a bond issue to move ahead with $6 million in marina improvements.  In all, Corpus Christi will add 172 wet slips to meet local demand--there's a three-year waiting list for slips over 30-feet--while accommodating visiting boats at state-of-the art facilities. The marina is within walking distance of the city's downtown shopping, restaurants and attractions, including the USS Lexington Museum and a new 10,000-seat waterfront entertainment arena.

WSFR staff closed the FY 2007 fiscal records for all grant programs.  All Region 2 grant records have been reconciled for the three systems that are currently used to obligate, account for and drawdown Federal funds, Federal Financial System, Health and Human Services and Federal Assistance Information Management System. 

Accumulated and entered Fiscal Year 2007 performance data into Enterprise Planner.

Assisted Arizona Game and Fish Department with stream renovation activities furthering opportunities to re-establish pure Apache cutthroat trout populations and ultimately offer sport fishing for these wild, native trout.  This activity was combined with a field site review of Sport Fish Restoration grant activities.

WSFR staff met with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Officer and her staff on September 12 to discuss consultation procedures under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  Staff subsequently met with the Regional Cultural Resources Officer for similar discussions.

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



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