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Georgia Parham, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (812) 334-4261 x1203
Vanessa Vaughan, The Conservation Fund, (703) 908-5809

 

Energy Company, Migrating Birds Find Common Ground in Indiana

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Conservation Fund announce grants to protect important wildlife habitat using funds from Rockies Express

Indianapolis, IN (November 2, 2009) – Across Indiana, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Conservation Fund and industry partners have launched a landmark conservation effort to meet growing energy demand while conserving wildlife habitat.  Today, the team announced seven energy industry-funded grants totaling $1.1 million that will protect more than 1,300 acres of migratory bird habitat in the state.

Funding for the grants came from Rockies Express, a business owned by Kinder Morgan, Sempra and Conoco Phillips.

"Using these grants to help protect habitat shows it’s possible to develop energy infrastructure in an environmentally sound manner," said Tom Melius, Midwest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The choice isn’t, and rarely should be, between wildlife or development, but rather how we accommodate both needs in a holistic manner. We hope others will follow the example set here."

Peg Kohring, Midwest director of The Conservation Fund, said, "Energy providers are looking to avoid protracted delays in permitting, environmentalists are looking to protect the wildlife that call energy corridors home, and businesses and homeowners seek reliable, affordable domestic energy supplies.  At The Conservation Fund, we provide a way forward by helping all achieve their goals.  And at a time when public dollars for conservation are stretched thin, private companies provide a way to advance conservation, even in tough economic times."

"Protecting migratory bird habitat in Indiana is extremely important," said Scott Pruitt, project leader for the Service’s Bloomington, Indiana, field office. "Many species of migratory birds, such as the cerulean warbler, depend on large tracts of unbroken forest canopy, and that’s the type of habitat theses grants will help protect."

As America invests in infrastructure, The Conservation Fund is working with energy, transportation, development and government leaders to offset project impacts on wildlife habitat and other natural resources through conservation real estate transactions, strategic planning and mitigation fund management.

Rockies Express is constructing a 1,700-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Colorado to Ohio.  Despite careful planning to avoid and minimize impacts, these construction projects cannot avoid all adverse impacts on vulnerable migratory bird habitat.  To compensate for the loss of forestland and accelerate approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, this energy company voluntarily agreed to establish mitigation funds to be used to compensate for any impacts.  The Conservation Fund managed these accounts and, with the oversight of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provided grants to conservation projects that preserve habitat for vulnerable bird species.  This was a one-time grant process intended to use all the funds in the account.

The funds in the mitigation accounts were leveraged with funding from other sources to protect and restore 1,395 acres – more than seven times the 182 acres Rockies Express was required to mitigate.

About The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America’s land and water legacy.  With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home.  Since 1985, we have helped protect more than 6 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities.  We’re a top-ranked conservation organization, effective and efficient.  www.conservationfund.org

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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.


Descriptions of Rockies Express Grants:

Project: Blue Clay Falls & Lick Creek Hills Linkage Project
Grant Recipient: Whitewater Valley Land Trust
Grant Amount: $350,000
Acres Protected: 351
Location: Wayne County
Quote: "The Lick Creek Hills Macrosite is presently split.  The blessing of these funds is gratefully welcome.  The funding will aid us in forming the largest cohesive preserve system in Southeastern Indiana.  The fens, mature woods and river bottom will provide scenic beauty and recreation for the public and natural protection for the migratory birds of concern.  The funding will jump start the Blue Clay Falls & Lick Creek Hills Linkage Project -- the continued protection of our vital fens and riparian woodlands that are the origin of tributaries flowing through the Whitewater Valley Land Trust region and forms a lengthening protected refuge corridor north from Ohio River for our bird friends."  (Debbie Gross, Whitewater Valley Land Trust, Vice President)

Project:
Burnett Woods State Nature Preserve
Grant Recipient: Central Indiana Land Trust
Grant Amount: $69,787
Acres Protected: 11 acres protected, 8 acres restored
Location: Hendricks County
Quote: "This project will greatly enhance the value of Burnett Woods Nature Preserve for migratory and resident bird populations.  Additional funds have been awarded to restore habitat at one site and tackle invasive species at two other protected sites in Central Indiana.  We are grateful for the support from the REX East Migratory Bird Account and pleased to be able to undertake projects at three different but equally valuable sites." (Heather Bacher, Executive Director of the Central Indiana Land Trust)

(Note: The Central Indiana Land Trust received an additional grant of $55,870 for three other restoration projects: Burnett Woods Bush Honeysuckle Eradication, 10 acres; Brush Creek Conservation Easement Forest Restoration Project, 50 acres; Oliver-Daugherty Bush Honeysuckle Eradication, 11 acres)

Project: J. Frederick Hoffman Memorial Nature Area
Grant Recipient: Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Foundation
Grant Amount: $50,000
Acres Protected: 420 acres protected, 154 acres restored
Location: Tippecanoe County
Quote: "The Hoffman Nature Area is an extremely exciting project for our organization and the overall community.  Acquisition of the remainder of this 420 acre property is expected to be completed by May 2010.  Master Planning for the property has already proceeded, and we anticipate beginning erosion control work and the first phase of reforestation in 2010.  On behalf of the Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Foundation, the Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Board and its staff, we thank you for this endorsement and this vote of confidence."  (Allen Nail, Superintendent of Parks, Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Foundation)

Project: Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area Expansion
Grant Recipient: Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife
Grant Amount: $200,000
Acres Protected: 144 acres protected
Location: Vigo County
Quote: "The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to the conservation of the State's fish and wildlife resources.  Partnership with conservation minded groups is imperative to achieving this objective.  Creation of the new 5,000 acre Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area is a model of partnership involving 10 groups of conservationists.  The REX account will provide the funding to purchase land which will connect the acreage purchased to date with that which will be purchased through a NAWCA grant.  The Wabashiki project will preserve wildlife habitat along a 16-mile stretch of the Wabash River directly west of the city of Terre Haute."  (Mark Reiter, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

Project: Sugar Creek – Coal Hollow Preserve Addition
Grant Recipient: The Nature Conservancy
Grant Amount: $357,500
Acres Protected: 200
Location: Parke County
Quote: "The Nature Conservancy in Indiana is thrilled that our Sugar Creek - Coal Hollow Project has received funding through the REX East Migratory Bird Grant Program.  Working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Divisions of Forestry and Nature Preserves, we believe this is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that will result in significant conservation in west central Indiana.  Grants like this allow us to continue our important conservation work throughout the state."  (Joe Tutterrow, Indiana Director of Protection, The Nature Conservancy)

Project: Shawnee Bottoms Addition
Grant Recipient: NICHES Land Trust
Grant Amount: $50,000
Acres Protected: 35
Location: Fountain County
Quote: "I and NICHES are very excited about the new addition to our Shawnee Bottoms property.  The addition is an important block in restoring and enhancing the quality of the oak woodlands and bottomlands of the Portland Arch region.  We look forward to the responsibility of ensuring the long term protection of the birds and wildlife that use these lands for their survival." (Gus Nyberg, Executive Director, NICHES Land Trust)

 

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.

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Last updated: November 4, 2013