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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

July 26, 1999
Megan Durham 202-208-4685
Mitch Snow 202-208-5634

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE CANCELS ELECTIVE GRANT PROGRAM FOR FY 2000

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not seek grant proposals for its popular Federal Aid Administrative Grants program for FY 2000 due to unforeseen budget shortfalls, Fish and Wildlife Acting Director John Rogers announced today.

The decision, announced in today's Federal Register, notes that costs of administering the Federal Aid program have risen sharply in recent years. This rise, coupled with lower-than-expected program revenues, has eliminated the surplus monies out of which the Federal Aid Administrative Grants program had been funded.

"This was a difficult decision to make," said Rogers, "but there was no funding left to support the effort, even after taking some very sizeable and significant cuts in other internal projects supported with administrative funds."

Administrative funds are authorized by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act to pay expenses incurred by the Fish and Wildlife Service in administering these programs with the states. The

Service may deduct up to 8 percent for the Wildlife Restoration program and up to 6 percent for the Sport Fish Restoration program, with the remaining funds apportioned to state fish and wildlife agencies for fish and wildlife restoration and management efforts.

At the Service's discretion, some of the funds deducted for administration have been used in the past to support the special investigations through the Federal Aid Administrative Grants program. In recent years, up to $4 million has been available for this annual competitive grants process.

"We recognize how important some of these past grants have been," Rogers noted, "and how significant their contributions were to fish and wildlife conservation. But the current funding picture simply can't support the effort for Fiscal Year 2000."

The overall health of the Federal Aid programs is strong, Rogers added, and the programs should emerge even stronger after a comprehensive management review to be undertaken this summer.

"We see the Federal Aid programs as the cornerstones of our state-Federal conservation partnership," Rogers said, "and we want to do everything we can to assure that these programs enter the new century strong and vital."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices, and 78 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 that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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