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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

 

 September 26, 2006

Contact: Valerie Fellows 202.208.5634
                Barb Perkins 303.236.4588

 

SECRETARY KEMPTHORNE ANNOUNCES $67 MILLION IN GRANTS TO SUPPORT LAND ACQUISITION AND CONSERVATION PLANNING FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

Grants Awarded for Projects in Utah

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today announced more than $67 million in grants to 27 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants. The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit species ranging from orchids to bull trout that are found across the United States.

"These grants are incredibly important tools to conserve threatened and endangered species," said Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne. "Our ability to successfully conserve habitat for imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation. These grants provide the means for States to work with landowners and communities to conserve habitat and foster conservation stewardship efforts for future generations."

Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the grants enable States to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

The cooperative endangered species fund this year provides $7.5 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, $46 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program and $13.9 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help reduce potential conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species and land development and use.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Services will receive $150,000 to develop a new Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to establish a string of preserves on private lands that already support the greatest concentration of prairie dogs. The string of private land preserves will provide dispersal corridors between preserves, which in turn will increase the conservation benefits and promote gene dispersal without human intervention. The new county-wide HCP will contribute to the recovery of the Utah prairie dog while still allowing continued development and economic growth in Iron County.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Services will also receive $276,491 for acquiring and restoring June sucker habitat. Protection and restoration of Hobble Creek will provide a second spawning site for the endangered June sucker as mandated in the recovery plan and required for downlisting. There is a critical need for acquisition of this land and associated water rights as the area is under heavy development pressure. The acquisition will allow the partners of the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program to restore and protect spawning, young-of-year and juvenile habitat for the June sucker while restoring wetland, tributary and lake function of Utah Lake.

Under the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Program, the Service provides grants to States or Territories for land acquisition associated with approved HCPs. The grants are targeted to help landowners who want to undertake proactive conservation work on their lands to conserve imperiled species. HCPs are agreements between a landowner and the Service, allowing a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property that may result in the death, injury or harassment of a listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their own jurisdiction and may address multiple species. There are more than 650 HCPs currently in effect covering 600 separate species on approximately 41 million acres.

The HCP Planning Assistance Program provides grants to States and Territories to support the development of HCPs through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach, and similar planning activities.

The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. Habitat acquisition to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.

For a complete list of the 2006 grant awards for these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615), see the Service’s Endangered Species Grants home page at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/section6/index.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 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource 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 Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

-FWS-

 


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