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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

 

May 17, 2007

Contact: Valerie Fellows 202.208.5634
               Diane Katzenberger 303.236.4578

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES PRIVATE STEWARDSHIP GRANTS TO LANDOWNERS FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES CONSERVATION  

Kansas Projects Awarded Grants 

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today announced grants totaling more than $7.2 million will go to private landowners and groups in 36 states for conservation projects to benefit endangered, threatened and other at-risk species through the Private Stewardship Grants Program.  This year’s grants will benefit native species ranging from the Santa Catalina Island fox in California to the Nashville crayfish in Tennessee. 

“Our conservation goals for fish and wildlife can only be achieved with the help of private citizens and landowners,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “These grants are one of the most important tools we have to protect this country’s threatened and endangered species.” 

Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), each of the 80 grants requires at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.  

Now in its fifth year, the Private Stewardship Grants Program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit federally listed endangered or threatened species, 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.   

Last year, 80 grants totaling $6.9 million were awarded to private individuals and groups in 35 states. In the first four years of the program, 362 grants totaling approximately $29 million were awarded to private landowners across the country. 

“We are seeing tremendous benefits to wildlife by partnering with private landowners,” said H. Dale Hall, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Each year, these private stewardship grants pay dividends in the effort to preserve imperiled species and their habitats. It is heartening to see how much progress we can make when we work together.” 

A Chase County landowner will receive $50,000 to implement rangeland management techniques to restore tallgrass prairie on the 4,000 acre Homestead Ranch in the Flint Hills of Kansas.  The techniques include removing fences, using patch burning to control livestock grazing, seeding native plants on previously cultivated land, management of invasive species and monitoring vegetation response.  This will improve habitat for the endangered American burying beetle and several grassland bird species.  The project is intended to serve as a successful and economically viable model that can be implemented by other ranchers. 

The Northern Prairies Land Trust receive $94,462 to improve tallgrass prairie habitat in Jefferson and Thayer counties in Kansas, and Washington and Republic counties in Nebraska to benefit the endangered American burying beetle, the threatened western prairie fringed orchid, and numerous grassland bird species.  The project involves clearing invasive woody vegetation from native prairie, administering prescribed burning, and implementing planned grazing systems. 

Other examples of the Private Stewardship Grant projects selected for funding in 2007 include the following: 

ALABAMA / MISSISSIPPI / LOUISIANA

Pine Ecosystem Restoration ($150,000) - This project, submitted by the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation, American Forest Foundation and Environmental Defense, will improve habitat for declining species dependent on fire-maintained southern pine communities in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  This grant will build on earlier successful projects that resulted in the restoration of 3,335 acres on 24 sites. Restoration activities, including planting longleaf pine, will be performed on 1,088 acres of family forest properties.  The threatened gopher tortoise, endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, and the black pine snake and ten other species of concern will benefit from this project.   

ALASKA

Little Campbell Creek: “It's a Creek, not a Ditch” ($33,600) – The Anchorage Waterways Council submitted this proposal to work with local residents living adjacent to Little Campbell Creek. The grant will help rehabilitate degraded riparian buffers and restore healthy fish habitat. A creekside stewardship program will be developed to target willing land owners and promote a positive stewardship ethic.  The project will provide technical expertise, materials and volunteer labor to assist landowners in modifying their land use practices or physical features of their property to enhance protection of the creek and restore vital fish habitat.  Species of concern that will benefit include the chinook, coho and sockeye salmon, the Cook Inlet population of beluga whale; rusty blackbird; and a mayfly species found only in Alaska.  

CALIFORNIA

Mattole River Eastern Sub-basin Aquatic Habitat Restoration Project ($95,000) – This project, submitted by the Mattole Restoration Council, will replace three undersized culverts on private lands near Wolf, Buck, and Deer Lick creeks in northern California to allow for full fish passage and reduction of sediment loads into the creeks. The project will benefit three federally threatened fish:  Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead.  It will also benefit rare species such as Pacific lamprey, foothill yellow-legged frog, northern red-legged frog, tailed frog, and southern torrent salamander. 

OHIO / INDIANA / MICHIGAN

Reforestation and Wetland Restoration for Permanent Native Habitat in St. Joseph River Watershed ($45,000) – The St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative Partnership will protect, restore and enhance wetland and forest habitat in the St. Joseph River watershed in Hillsdale County, Michigan; Defiance and Williams counties, Ohio; and Allen, Dekalb, and Noble counties, Indiana. The project will benefit the Copperbelly water snake, Indiana bat, clubshell, white cat's pearlymussel, Northern riffleshell, and the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, as well as 5 other at-risk species.  The initiative has identified at least 14 landowners where nearly 140 acres of reforestation will occur to connect wetland corridor habitat for these species. 

OKLAHOMA

Protection, Management, and Monitoring Cave Habitat for the Ozark Big-eared Bat ($9,000) – Rogers State University  initiated this project which will provide specific management for protection of the Ozark big-eared bat and other rare cave fauna at a single cave in Adair County, Oklahoma; implement management and protection at one of three potential caves in Adair County, Oklahoma and monitor the cave, gate/grill system and bat populations to evaluate continued occupancy by the Ozark big-eared bat. 

VIRGINIA

Enhancing Habitat in a Priority Stream ($21,500) – This grant will assist the landowner with a riparian restoration project along Copper Creek, in the Clinch River watershed in Scott County, Virginia.  The goal of the restoration project is to improve stream quality and restore habitat for two endangered species, the purple bean and yellowfin madtom, as well as indirectly benefit several other listed species.  The area being protected includes approximately 5,000 feet of stream bank and 9 acres of riparian area. The project application was submitted by Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District and a private landowner. 

WASHINGTON 

Wolf Haven Prairie Restoration ($74,000) – The Nature Conservancy submitted the project which will restore high-quality prairie habitat in Thurston County, Washington.  Improved habitat quality will provide opportunities for the enhancement, colonization, or introduction of six at-risk animal species including Mazama pocket gopher, Mardon skipper, and Taylor’s checkerspot (all federal candidate speces).  In addition, the federally threatened golden paintbrush will be re-introduced at the site.  Golden paintbrush re-introduction will follow the guidelines outlined in the “Recovery Plan for Golden Paintbrush.” 

HAWAII

Auwahi III Dryland Forest Ecosystem Restoration ($280,500) – The objective of this project is the construction of an ungulate-proof fence protecting 190 acres of Auwahi forest on privately-owned ‘Ulupalakua Ranch in Maui County, Hawaii.  This project was submitted by the Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc. and builds on the success of previous Auwahi restoration projects by protecting one of the richest and most endangered of Hawaiian ecosystems.  The species which will benefit include the Blackburn’s sphinx moth and eight federally listed and two candidate plants. 

The full list of projects selected for funding under the Private Stewardship Grants Program may be accessed at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship.html. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this grant program is 15-632. 

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 547 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-

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