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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

May 29, 2003

Contact: Diane Katzenberger 303-236-7917 ext 408
                Patricia Fisher (202) 208-5634

A PROMISE FULFILLED -- LANDOWNERS RECEIVE MORE THAN $9.4 MILLION TO CONSERVE IMPERILED SPECIES UNDER NEW GRANT PROGRAM

Under the new Private Stewardship Grant program envisioned by President Bush when he was still Texas governor, the Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced 113 grants totaling more than $9.4 million to individuals and groups to undertake conservation projects on private lands in 43 states for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species.

Montana landowners received grants for five conservation projects.

President Bush originally proposed the creation of the Private Stewardship Grant program during a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in June 2000. The grants announced today, the first ever awarded under the program, will benefit species ranging from the whooping crane in Nebraska to the bald eagle in the state of Washington. Each grant must be matched by at least 10 percent of the total project cost either in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.

"Conservation, and especially the conservation of imperiled species, must be a partnership between the American people and their government," said Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton. "By making these grants, we are empowering citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps to protect and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species."

"Judging from the number of truly innovative grant proposals we reviewed, landowners across the U.S. are eager to work with us to conserve at-risk species," said Service Director Steve Williams. "We anticipate this public/private partnership will result in significant conservation achievements for wildlife and wildlife habitat."

The Private Stewardship Grants Program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit federally listed endangered or threatened species, candidate species or other at-risk species. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working with private landowners are

able to submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts. President Bush has requested funding of $10 million for this program in 2004.

The following are the Stewardship Grants funded for projects in Montana:

Brackett Creek Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project (Application by Confluence Consulting, Inc.) - Montana - ($96,374) - This project will dramatically improve habitat for the Yellowstone cutthroat trout by restoring channelized reaches of a stream, reducing sediment loading, restoring riparian habitat and enhancing wetlands.

Working Together for Grave Creek Restoration _ Phase II (Application by Kootenai River Network, Inc.) - Montana - ($100,000) - This project utilizes the local community commitment to restoring riparian and stream habitat for the listed bull trout and state imperiled westslope cutthroat trout, as well a numerous riparian species at risk. A landowner working group has partnered with several state and federal agencies to restore riparian habitat and stream channel functioning to conditions present prior to human settlement. This project promises long-term success and sustained commitment from landowners by producing economic benefits through a reduction in flooding.

Valley Springs Wetlands and Swan Breeding Facility Initiative (Application by Wyoming Wetland Society) -Wyoming, Montana, Idaho - ($97,000) - To develop an outdoor captive breeding facility and long-term habitat for the trumpeter swan as part of an implementation plan to prevent the need to list the species. The facility will provide swans to re-establish populations in a three-state region thereby making a positive conservation impact over a large landscape.

Bear Proofing an Agricultural Landscape: Working with private landowners and residents to reduce conflicts and mortalities with grizzly bears in Montana (Application by Blackfoot Challenge) - Montana - ($104,700) - To work with landowners in an agricultural landscape to reduce conflicts with grizzly bears that travel through a valley between two mountain ranges by bear-proofing certain attractants to the species. The valley is designated in the grizzly bear recovery plan as a travel route for the species.

Partnering with Private Landowners to Conserve Piping Plovers on Alkali Lakes in North Dakota and Montana (Application by The Nature Conservancy) - North Dakota, Montana - ($71,981) - This is an essential project to continue recovery of the Piping Plover while restoring habitat for additional declining shorebirds. On-site management activities that reduce predation and increase nesting success to restore populations will be initiated to reduce the decline of this species.

For a complete list of Private Partnership Stewardship grant awards, please visit: http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship.html.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64

fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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