Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

August 16, 2012

Contact:
Matt Filsinger 303-236-4341
Diane Katzenberger 303-236-4578

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary
Sample State Projects Included

For the past 25 years, the Fish and Wildlife Services’ Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has been working with private landowners and organizations to restore, protect and enhance important wildlife habitats on private lands.

Recognizing that over two-thirds of our nations land is privately owned and contains some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat in the United States, our mission is to achieve voluntary habitat restoration on private lands through financial and technical assistance - a win-win situation for the landowners and the critters.

The Mountain-Prairie Region’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program began in 1987 and includes Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska.  It was born in the prairie pothole region of the Midwest and is closely linked to the National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) system.

Visionary Refuge employees clearly saw the need to work beyond fee-title boundaries, recognizing that to help safeguard wildlife species, it was essential to incorporate both public and private land conservation efforts. These were humble beginnings but response was overwhelming and PFW quickly spread across the Mountain-Prairie Region.

PFW grounded itself in principles that still run true today; Honesty, Trust, Respect, Flexibility, and Open Communications. The Mountain-Prairie PFW business model has retained much of its simple functionality over-the-years. With well-proven techniques and skilled staff, the program has significant achievements:  15,000 private landowners have signed voluntary agreements since 1987, restoring and enhancing over 2,500,000 acres and nearly 3,000 river miles. Financially, the program has done a tremendous job of leveraging at a rate of 4:1, essentially taking every dollar and maximizing its impact by utilizing four dollars of non-PFW funds.  It is a strong network of partnerships and allies that made this work possible.

Our five major goals to 1) Conserve Habitat 2) Broaden and Strengthen Partnerships 3) Improve Information Sharing and Communication 4) Enhance our Workforce and 5) Increase Accountability are captured in our strategic plan and are driven by defined geographic focus areas and select focal species within those boundaries. Development is from the bottom-up and a majority of the decision-making occurs at the field-level.  Significant stakeholder involvement was captured for developing each of the plans.

The Mountain-Prairie PFW program has emerged as a leader in collaborative conservation. It has integrated with community-based conservation groups, laying the foundation for landscape-scale efforts at both the Service and Department of the Interior levels. Guided by its principles and strategic approach, PFW will continue striving for excellence and look for every opportunity to “Raise the Bar”.

To learn more about the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, please visit our website at: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/pfw/ 
PFW Projects by state:

Photos and more information about the following PFW Projects, are available on the websites listed below.

WYOMING:  Learn about a wetland restoration project designed to expand the Rocky Mountain population of Trumpeter swans onto the Wind River Reservation.  The Trumpeter Swan is North America's largest waterfowl and to many people, the embodiment of grace and beauty. For more information, visit our website at
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_WY.cfm
or contact: Mark Hogan 307 332-8719.

KANSAS:  Grassland birds are among our nation's fastest declining species, according to the 2011 State of the Birds Report. The Prairie Restoration Project in the Smoky Hills of Kansas comprises five individual but adjoining properties totaling 1,870 acres.  This restoration project benefits not only grassland birds but a suite of other grassland species. For more information about this project, visit our website at 
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_KS.cfm
or contact:  Mike Disney 785-539-3474 x 107

NEBRASKA:  Waterfowl, sandhill and whooping cranes, grassland nesting birds, and other fish and wildlife species native to the area have benefited from the restoration of a 190-acre parcel of habitat along the Platte River. A diverse group of partners worked together to make this happen. This restoration work has contributed toward long-term goals of conserving, restoring, and enhancing this area for native wildlife species and protecting this area for future generations to enjoy. For more information about this project, visit our website at   http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_NE.cfm
or contact: Kenny Dinan 308-382-6468 X 13

Colorado:  Water is the driving force and critical to a number of economic and recreational activities throughout Colorado.  With the advent of agricultural pumping systems in the 1960s the South Platte River basin quickly became over-appropriated, meaning there were more rights than available water at certain times of the year. Through an innovative solution developed by the Partners in Fish and Wildlife, wildlife habitat has been restored while farmers and others are still able to access and benefit from this precious water resource. For more information about how the PFW program helped find common-sense solutions to this complex ecological problem. For more information about this project, visit our website at  http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_CO.cfm
or contact: Bill Noonan 303-969-7322 X 272

Montana:  Nevada Creek is a principal tributary to the Big Blackfoot River, made famous in the book and movie “A River Runs Through It.” Because it was over-widened in some sections, the water temperature exceeded the tolerance of most native salmonids. The Service worked with a diverse group of partners and restored the river benefitting cold-water native fishes at a landscape-level across the entire Blackfoot River Watershed.  For more information about this project, visit our website at 
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_MT.cfm
or contact:  Jim Stutzman 406-727-7400 ext 224.

North Dakota:  Wetlands offer many wildlife benefits. They are credited with providing important breeding and migratory habitat for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, marsh and wading birds, especially when the Prairie Pothole Region is suffering drought conditions. Learn how the PFW program helped a private landowner establish three new wetlands totaling 15.4 acres so he could maintain 480-acres of expired CRP in grass, rather than convert it to crop production.  For more information about this project, visit our website at:    http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_ND.cfm
or contact:  Scott McLeod 701-355-8526.

South Dakota:  Learn about two projects to improve native rangeland conditions in the Prairie Coteau, one of the most important and stunning prairies in eastern South Dakota. For more information about these projects, visit our website at
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_SD.cfm
or contact:  Kurt Forman 605-697-2500.

Utah:  Utah is the second driest state in the nation, receiving an annual average 13 inches of precipitation.  Despite the low amount of precipitation, the Great Salt Lake area provides valuable habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. Learn how the PFW program has worked for over a decade to restore and protect habitat around the Great Salt Lake which has been designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site.  For more information about Utah PFW projects, visit our website at
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ea/Project_Profiles_UT.cfm
or contact:  Karl Fleming 435-734-6434.

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. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq