|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Lakewood, Colorado 80228
Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton 202.208.5636
Diane Katzenberger 303.236.4578
LANDOWNERS RECEIVE $6.9 MILLION FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES CONSERVATION
Two Projects in South Dakota Receive Grants
ST. GEORGE, S.C. -- Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Matt Hogan announced today grants totaling more than $6.9 million are being awarded to private landowners and groups in 35 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Private Stewardship Grants program to undertake conservation projects on their land for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species.
Hogan’s announcement came at Brosnan Forest, located northwest of Charleston, South Carolina, where he drew attention to Milliken Forestry Resources, Inc., and the work it is doing with nearly four dozen private landowners to restore and improve longleaf pine habitats on 17,645 acres to benefit red-cockaded woodpeckers. Milliken will receive $464,925 - the largest single private stewardship grant awarded since the program was created four years ago to benefit species conservation on private lands and bolster collaborative conservation.
“The Private Stewardship Grants program helps conservationists build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones to benefit wildlife conservation,” Hogan said. “This grant program is a Bush Administration initiative launched four years ago to empower citizens to conserve imperiled species on private lands across the nation. What the people at Milliken are accomplishing with the help of private landowners here is a testament to the benefit of that kind of empowerment.”
Administered by the Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, each of the 80 grants awarded today require at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.
The Private Stewardship Grants Program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands for species protected by the Endangered Species Act, candidate species or other at-risk species. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working with private landowners submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts.
Included in the grant recipients is the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe which will receive $66,094 to work with Lyman County landowners in the vicinity of a reintroduction site for the endangered black-footed ferret. Landowners will be encouraged to maintain black-tailed prairie dogs on their lands to increase contiguous habitat for the ferret.
The Nature Conservancy will receive $171,893 to initiate a program to restore tallgrass prairie over a large landscape through the use of prescribed burning and patch grazing. These techniques mimic historic processes that shaped the tallgrass prairie landscape and will restore habitat for numerous species of State and Federal concern, including the Dakota skipper, prairie white-fringed orchid and small white lady’s slipper. These private lands are located in the Prairie Coteau Region of South Dakota in Brookings, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Kingsbury, Lake, Marshall, Moody and Roberts Counties.
Among today’s other grant recipients are Audubon of Kansas, which will use a grant of $83,000 to work with four ranchers to conserve black-tailed prairie dogs that will provide sufficient habitat for restoration of the endangered black-footed ferret. In another example, Trout Unlimited in Lincoln County, Wyoming will receive $120,000 to re-water a portion of Grade Creek to enable Bonneville cutthroat trout to migrate to their historic spawning grounds on Grade Creek.
A complete list of the 2006 Private Stewardship Grant Program recipients can be found at <http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/private_stewardship/index.html>.
The Administration has requested funding of $9.4 million for this program in 2007; last year, 72 grants totaling $5.7 million were awarded to private individuals and groups in 38 states and one Territory. In the first three years of the program, 282 grants totaling more than $22 million were awarded to private landowners across the country.
“We recognize that endangered species can only successfully recover if we work cooperatively with landowners and communities to promote voluntary stewardship on private lands,” Service Director H. Dale Hall said. “Private stewardship grants provide critical support to landowners who voluntarily conserve threatened and endangered species.”
The Private Stewardship Grant program is one of a variety of tools under the ESA that help landowners plan and implement projects to conserve species. Other cooperative measures under the ESA include Habitat Conservation Plans, Safe Harbor Agreements, and Candidate Conservation Agreements. These grants and cooperative agreements provide incentives to foster citizen participation in the stewardship of our nation’s natural resources.
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.
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