Kim Forrest, San Luis NWR 209-826-3508
Two grants totaling more than $1.5 million will help fund two wildlife habitat restoration and conservation projects in California, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced Monday (Sept. 15). Funded under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), these two projects will help protect, restore and enhance more than 8,600 acres of wetlands, riparian and associated habitat in the Central Valley. Partners in these projects will contribute an additional $2.895 million in non-federal matching funds to help support these conservation effects.
A grant of $1,000,000 to Ducks Unlimited will support Phase 2 of a multi-phase initiative to conserve wetlands and associated habitats in the northern Tulare and San Joaquin basins of California?s Central Valley in Fresno and Merced Counties. Partners will protect, restore and enhance 5,210 of wetlands, 205 acres of riparian and 1,334 acres of associated wildlife habitats consisting of native grasslands, scrublands and managed upland habitats. Habitat conserved through this grant will benefit waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent birds throughout the year.
A second grant of $509,039 to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service will support the seventh phase of a multi-phase initiative to protect, restore and enhance wetlands and associated uplands within the Grasslands Wildlife Management Area and the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge acquisition boundary. The work will restore and enhance 1,854 acres of wetlands, riparian and wetland associated habitat, which will provide resting and foraging habitat for wintering migratory waterfowl and year-round habitat for other riparian and wetlands dependent birds and wildlife. These lands will provide long-term benefits to wetlands conservation and migratory birds because the lands are protected under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service perpetual conservation easements. The northern San Joaquin Valley--especially the wetlands in Merced and Stanislaus counties--is a critically important wintering area for Pacific Flyway migratory birds, with peak annual numbers of ducks and geese ranging from 800,000 to 1,000,000.
The two grants were awarded under NAWCA?s U.S. Standard Grants Program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Central Valley Joint Venture ( http://www.centralvalleyjointventure.org ). The grants are funded by annual Congressional appropriations; fines, penalties and forfeitures levied under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; interest accrued on funds under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Fund.
The commission includes Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Representatives John Dingell of Michigan and Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, as well as state representatives serving as ex officio members who vote on projects located within their respective states.
More information about NAWCA grant programs and summaries of the projects is available at: http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/index.shtm.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.