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SECRETARY NORTON ANNOUNCES $8 MILLION IN GRANTS TO TRIBES TO HELP CONSERVE FISH AND WILDLIFE

 Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding nearly $8.1 million to help 45 federally recognized Indian tribes manage, conserve and protect fish and wildlife resources on tribal lands in 18 states. 

The Service is awarding the grants under two programs: the Tribal Landowner Incentive Program and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program. The Tribal Landowner Incentive Program supports federally recognized Indian tribes to protect, restore, and manage habitat for species at-risk, including federally listed endangered or threatened species, as well as proposed or candidate species on tribal lands. The Service is providing about $2.1 million to help fund 17 Tribal Landowner Incentive projects.  

About $6 million will help fund 28 projects under the Tribal Wildlife Grant program. These grants are awarded to federally recognized Indian tribes to benefit fish, wildlife and their habitat including species that are not hunted or fished.  

“We are empowering Tribes to do what the federal government cannot do alone for imperiled species on tribal lands,” said Secretary of the Department of Interior Gale Norton. "These programs help us preserve tribal lands and their natural resources to conserve our shared wildlife heritage." 

Since 2003, the Service has put $23 million to work for tribal conservation efforts through both the Tribal Landowner Incentive Program and the Tribal Wildlife Grant Program.  

“From the Orca inlet in Alaska to the cypress swamps in Florida, Indians and Indian tribes are helping us achieve our mission,” said acting FWS director Matt Hogan.  “Thanks to these two special grant programs, we are strengthening our partnerships to promote species conservation and protect healthy ecosystems for future generations.”  

The 562 federally recognized Indians and Indian tribes have a controlling interest in more than 52 million acres of tribal trust lands and an additional 40 million acres held by Alaska native corporations. Much of this land is relatively undisturbed, providing a significant amount of rare and important fish and wildlife habitat.

Examples of Tribal Landowner Incentive Program grants awarded today:

 The Lummi Tribe in Washington will receive $150,000 to design the Upper South Fork Instream Project, which will support salmon recovery in the Nooksack River basin. Designated as the highest priority for habitat restoration for Nookstack stocks, this 16-mile reach will provide habitat for chinook and other salmonid species. The Lummi tribe will design permit-ready projects that address habitat diversity, channel stability, sediment load and water quality to address salmonid critical habitat needs.  

The Native Village of Eyak in Alaska will receive $149,559 to help restore the razor clam in southeastern Prince William Sound.  After declaring the razor clam a species-at-risk, the Traditional Council of the Native Village of Eyak requested funding to help them restore the stock to levels that would sustain a subsistence harvest and eventually provide commercial harvest opportunities.   

The Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine will receive $149,490 to restore and reopen 500 miles of river habitat for shortnose sturgeon, Atlantic salmon, American eel, American shad, and alewives. The Penobscot are working with numerous partners to remove two large dams, decommission a third, and boost power production at six other dams in the Penobscot watershed.  For the first time in over 200 years, 100 percent of migratory fish historical habitat will be reopened. 

 Examples of Tribal Wildlife Grants awarded today:

 The Pueblo of Acoma will receive $250,000 to study bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain Elk in New Mexico. They will use GIS landscape methods to evaluate if the 431,000-acre reservation contains suitable habitat for a potential reintroduction of bighorn sheep.  They are also monitoring Rocky Mountain elk movements using GPS collars to document migration patterns, seasonal usage, and identify critical areas.

 The White Earth Band of Ojibwe will receive $155,000 to rear and restock Lake Sturgeon in Minnesota’s Red River watershed. The White Earth Reservation Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan requires 8,000 fingerlings to be reared and stocked in White Earth Lake, and an additional 5,000 fingerlings to be reared and stocked into Round Lake every year.  With their partners at both the state and federal level, the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Rainy River First Nations have reintroduced over 48,000 fingerlings of this endangered species into its historical habitat. 

 The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in South Dakota will receive $250,000 to reintroduce both the swift fox and black-footed ferret to the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation. These species will help restore ecological balance, increase biodiversity and promote prairie ecosystem conservation by increasing public awareness.  

The Seminole Tribe of Florida will receive $250,000 to develop an invasive species management plan for both plant and fish species on the Big Cypress and Brighton reservations. They will determine the impact of non-indigenous fish populations on native fish populations and remove exotic plant species, which will help restore habitat for the federally protected wood stork, Florida panther, Audubon’s Crested Cara Cara, and bald eagle. 

 The Chickaloon Native Traditional Council in Alaska will receive $167,768 to restore fish passage and improve habitat on Moose Creek.  They will restore over 1000 lineal feet of stream channel from a fast flowing steep channel to a step-pool system that improves fish passage for adult and juvenile coho and Chinook salmon, dolly varden and trout. They will also enhance 2.5 acres of riparian vegetation in the flood plain. 

 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 545 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 -FWS-

 The Tribal Landowner Incentive Program supports federally recognized Indian tribes to protect, restore, and manage habitat to benefit species at-risk, including federally listed endangered or threatened species, as well as proposed or candidate species on tribal lands.  The Service has approximately $2.14 million available for this program and will fund 17 of the 35 proposals submitted.  These selected grants represent 17 tribes in 11 states. 

 Tribal Landowner Incentive Program grants awarded

 MT

Fort Peck Tribes                                                                            $150,000
Manning Lake Wetlands Tribal Wildlife Refuge Project

 Northern Cheyenne Tribe                                                             $150,000
Native Prairie Conservation Incentive Program

ND

Spirit Lake Nation                                                                           $150,000
Assessment of Flooded Habitats, Important Wildlife Habitats and the Development of a Land Use Plan

 SD

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe                                                                   $149,904
County Line Prairie Restoration and Conservation Project           

 The Tribal Wildlife Grant Program supports federally recognized Indian tribes to develop and implement programs that benefit wildlife and their habitat, including non-game species on tribal lands.  The Service has approximately $5.98 million available for this program and will fund 28 of the 121 proposals submitted.  These selected grants represent 28 tribes in 16 states.

 Tribal Wildlife Grants awarded

 ND

Spirit Lake Nation                                                                             $250,000
Implementation of Biological Wildlife Surveys for a Wildlife Management Program

 SD

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe                                                                   $250,000
Swift Fox and Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction Project (Phase 2 – Reintroduction)

Yankton Sioux Tribe                                                                           $250,000
Riverine Endangered Species Habitat Development


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