Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Announces Endangered Species Grant Awards for California and Nevada

Apr 12, 2010

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Endangered Species Grant Awards for California and Nevada

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced nearly $66 million in grants to enable 25 states to work with private landowners, conservation organizations and other partners to protect and conserve the habitat of threatened and endangered species.

The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous California and Nevada species ranging from the desert tortoise to the Railroad Valley springfish, and many others.

“These grants are part of our ongoing commitment to work with states and other partners to ensure America’s beautiful land and wildlife are conserved for future generations,” Salazar said. 

“They provide the means for states to develop the long-term partnerships with landowners and communities necessary to conserve habitat and foster stewardship that will bring species back from the threat of extinction.” 

Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species. 

Nationwide this year, the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund provides approximately $10 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, $41 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and $15 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help avoid potential conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species and land development and use.  

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landowner and the Service. These agreements allow a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property, even if they may result in the death, injury or harassment of a listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.   

Through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants the following California projects will be funded: 

 - Bay Delta Conservation Plan (Multiple Counties; Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta Region, CA) $673,000. This project will support the development of an HCP/NCCP for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta Region. The Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast. The Delta supports more than 750 plant and animal species, 126 of which are sensitive or listed as threatened or endangered. The Delta is also critical to California’s economy, as it serves as the “hub” of the State’s water infrastructure, supplying drinking water for two-thirds of Californians and irrigation water for over 7 million acres of highly productive agricultural lands. The Bay Delta HCP/NCCP is being developed as a long-term comprehensive plan that will conserve and manage covered species and natural communities in perpetuity while providing reliable water supplies for the State’s myriad of beneficial uses. Note: an NCCP is a state plan developed in concert with the federal HCP under the California Natural Communities Conservation Program.

 - Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Natural Community Conservation Plan/ Habitat Conservation Plan (Alameda County, CA) $561,000. This project will support the continued development of a multi-species HCP and NCCP. The plan is intended to provide conservation for avian and terrestrial species affected by the wind operation and maintenance activities in the Altamont Pass region. The plan covers 19 listed and non-listed species (including six federally listed species, and two state listed species). The conservation strategy also addresses impacts to migratory birds and bats. The Plan is expected to contribute to the recovery and delisting of listed species, while precluding the need to list currently non-listed species through the conservation and management of all 19 covered species and several non-covered species and their habitats.

 - South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (Sacramento County, CA) $489,000. This grant funds the completion of the HCP document and will result in the permanent protection of over 48,000 additional acres of high-quality species habitat. It will establish large, intact, and interconnected vernal-pool and riparian preserves managed for the conservation of at least 40 listed and at-risk sensitive species. The SSHCP will provide conservation benefits to seven federally endangered and threatened species including the giant garter snake, California tiger salamander, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, vernal pool fairy shrimp, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, Sacramento orcutt grass, and the slender orcutt grass. By establishing large interconnected preserves, the plan will maintain intact watersheds and sub watersheds to maintain the hydrological regimes that many covered species, especially vernal pool and riparian species, depend upon.

Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program the following California projects will be funded:

 - East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan: Byron to Black Diamond Conservation Corridor (Contra Costa County, CA) $6 million. These funds will purchase 1,800 acres that will provide important habitat and wildlife corridors for many of the 28 covered species contained in the plan, including eight federally listed species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, California red-legged frog, and vernal pool tadpole shrimp. The acquisition of these properties adds to the approximately 4,800 acres that have been, or are in the process of being acquired, and provide protection for lands that have rich on-site resources and support a diverse mosaic of habitat types.

 - City of Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan (San Diego County, CA) $6 million. This project will purchase 150-400 acres of important biological core habitat areas for the coastal California gnatcatcher. The purchases will also benefit numerous listed and unlisted species covered by the Carlsbad HMP, including the least Bell’s vireo, California least tern, western snowy plover, and numerous plants. The acquisition supports a larger landscape conservation initiative and will greatly enhance the conservation goals of the Carlsbad HMP by securing key regional wildlife linkages and preserving core habitat in the three targeted areas. The acquisition parcels support a mosaic of high quality, native riparian and upland habitats.

 - San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (San Diego County, CA) $6 million. This project will result in the acquisition of 250-600 acres of land that will greatly enhance the existing San Diego MSCP by securing key regional wildlife linkages and preserving core habitat in four targeted areas. The acquisitions will benefit 31 listed and unlisted species, including the San Diego fairy shrimp, arroyo toad, least Bell’s vireo, coastal California gnatcatcher, southwestern willow flycatcher, and bald eagle. The acquisition areas support a mosaic of high quality riparian, vernal pool, and upland habitats that support numerous listed and unlisted species covered by the San Diego MSCP. The acquisition supports a larger landscape conservation initiative and will greatly enhance the conservation goals of the San Diego MSCP by connecting one of the largest intact blocks of publicly-owned and managed land within San Diego County.

The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. Habitat acquisition to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.  

 - Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Lower Santa Clara River (Ventura County, CA) $1 million. This project enables the acquisition of as many as 145 acres as part of a larger effort to protect and restore riparian and floodplain habitat along the Santa Clara River, one of the most intact river systems remaining in southern California. The lower Santa Clara River system supports 18 State and federally listed species, and the acquisition would implement recovery tasks for the federally endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, least Bell’s vireo, and arroyo toad, and the federally threatened California red-legged frog. Identified parcels include lands within the riparian corridor and floodplain of the lower Santa Clara River and will support regional conservation efforts outlined in The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Plan for the Lower Santa Clara River Watershed and Surrounding Areas to protect native habitats, reduce fragmentation, improve habitat connectivity, and secure long term ecosystem benefits within the watershed. 

 - Kimball Valley, Arroyo Toad (San Diego County, CA) $500,000. This grant will enable the acquisition of and provide for the permanent protection of approximately 474 acres of habitat that support listed and sensitive species along San Vicente Creek. The acquisition of the proposed properties will benefit the endangered arroyo toad, least Bell’s vireo, Quino checkerspot butterfly, and the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher by conserving important habitat for these species and protecting the parcels from degradation and future development. Acquisition of the proposed parcels will promote the recovery of the arroyo toad and other listed and sensitive species by conserving a corridor of contiguous riparian/wash habitat, as well as adjacent upland habitat along San Vicente Creek. The proposed acquisition supports a larger landscape conservation initiative and the San Diego County MSCP by connecting publicly-owned lands within the San Vicente Creek corridor, which collectively provide one of the largest intact blocks of habitat for the arroyo toad and other listed and sensitive species in San Diego County. These parcels are in close proximity to or abut habitat that has been conserved by the State (i.e., the Ca?ada de San Vicente Ecological Reserve), County of San Diego (e.g., San Vicente Highlands Preserve), or Tribal Reservation land.

 - Dry Creek Ranch-East Conservation Easement Acquisition Project (Merced County, CA) $500,000. This grant will enable the acquisition of 2,900 acres of vernal pool habitat in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. The habitat is located on a 5,452-acre working cattle ranch in the northeastern corner of Merced County and within the East Merced Grasslands area, one of the largest and most intact vernal pool grasslands habitats remaining in California. The acquisition of a conservation easement on the Dry Creek Ranch will assist with the recovery and conservation objectives for one endangered species, four threatened species, and seven species of concern; all are associated with vernal pool habitat.

 - Black Rock Station Acquisition (Nye County, NV) $420,000. This project will enable the acquisition of 6.2 acres of land adjacent to lands already under public ownership specifically for the protection of the federally threatened Railroad Valley springfish and the Big Warm Spring springsnail, a Nevada Species of Conservation Priority. Acquisition of the Black Rock Station parcel will substantially enhance the recovery potential for Railroad Valley springfish by enabling restoration of the only remaining parcel of essential recovery habitat for this species not currently in public ownership or under conservation management, enhancing connectivity to seasonally occupied springfish habitat in the lower Big Spring outflow system, and completing specific recovery tasks identified in the recovery plan.

 - Revert Spring Acquisition (Nye County, NV) $968,000. The Nevada Department of Wildlife will purchase the Revert Spring Parcel and associated water rights in Oasis Valley, Nye County, Nevada. The property is made up of about 330 acres of spring source and outflows, wet pasture, wetlands, upland, and riparian corridor habitat on the Amargosa River, just north of the town of Beatty. Spring outflows on this property support more than two miles of critically important river, riparian and gallery forest habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, candidate yellow-billed cuckoo, and other migratory birds. The property also includes high quality habitat for the Amargosa toad, a species petitioned for listing, and the endemic Oasis Valley speckled dace. The property will be managed by NDOW through a cooperative agreement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

For a complete list of the 2010 grant awards for these programs see the Service’s Endangered Species Grants home page at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/section6/index.html.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Visit http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2010/pdf/Sect6FY2010CASFinal.pdf to view list of grants awarded.