Amy Gaskill, APR, (503) 231-6121
$682,000 for New Jobs to Restore Habitat Important to
Endangered Plants, Fish and Migratory Birds
The Pacific Region Coastal Program will receive more than $682,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to restore 365 acres of wetland and forest habitat for migratory birds, chum salmon and other sensitive wildlife species, Robyn Thorson, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region, announced today. “With these investments of Recovery Act funds, we are putting people to work today to make improvements that will help the coastal habitat and benefit the regions for many years to come,” U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “We are making a bold investment in 21st century jobs and 21st century technologies on our public lands to meet our energy needs, rebuild our economy, and protect our environment for future generations,” Secretary Salazar said.
Coastal areas are vitally important to fish and wildlife. Coastal areas support 40 percent of national wildlife refuges, 40 percent of federally listed species (including 75 percent of the listed mammals and birds), 50 percent of the Service’s fisheries activities, 25 percent of the nation’s wetlands and at least 30 percent of North American wintering waterfowl.
This year, the Coastal Program celebrates its 25th anniversary. It is one of the Service’s most popular and effective programs for voluntary, community-based fish and wildlife conservation. The Coastal Program focuses on watershed-scale, long-term collaborative resource planning and on-the-ground projects in high-priority coastal areas.
The Coastal Program has joined with many partners nationwide to conserve fish and wildlife habitat in significant ways. Through our partnerships, we have worked to conserve wetlands, streams and rivers, marshes and estuaries, coastal prairies, coral reefs, and coastal lowlands and forests. The power of our partnerships is clearly demonstrated by our accomplishments. Between 1985 and 2005, the program leveraged federal tax dollars at least 3:1 through partnerships to restore over 125,000 acres of coastal wetlands, over 31,000 acres of coastal upland habitat and over 1,300 miles of riparian and in-stream habitat. The program has also protected more than 1.7 million acres of coastal habitat. Funding distributed under ARRA will finance the following Coastal Program projects over the next 18 months:
Naas Preserve Prairie Habitat Restoration and Golden Paintbrush Recovery in Washington -- $200,000 (ARRA) (FFS#R1FE)
This project will restore up to eight acres of coastal grassland habitat and support recovery actions for the threatened golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and will take place on the Naas Natural Area Preserve, a coastal grassland property in Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island, Washington. This is just one more step toward reintroducing and establishing a self-sustaining population of golden paintbrush. The Naas Preserve includes two-thirds of a mile of bluff shoreline on Admiralty Inlet and is located between two existing golden paintbrush populations on separate, protected sites. The re-established population will form a genetic and pollination link between these three populations, likely increasing the genetic viability of all three populations. This project is expected to employ nine contractors (seven of which are small businesses) for several months for mowing, invasive plant management, tree and shrub removal, prescribed burning, native plant propagation, and planting and sowing native species. Funds will also be used to purchase seeds and seedlings. Community volunteers will assist with planting efforts.
The property is owned and managed by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust and an easement is held by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This project is being conducted in partnership with the North Puget Sound Prairie Working Group, a collaborative effort to protect, restore and enhance the prairie ecosystem and subsequently golden paintbrush populations in North Puget Sound. Whidbey Camano Land Trust will host at least four public tours of the restoration area to increase local knowledge of rare coastal grasslands, rare species and the importance of conservation.
Miami Wetlands Restoration near Tillamook Bay in Oregon -- $212,000 (ARRA) (FFS#R1FA)
This project allows us to work with partners to restore 43 acres adjacent to the Miami River near Tillamook Bay, Oregon. The Miami Wetlands project addresses the need to restore degraded wetlands in the Tillamook estuary, where over 85% of these critical habitats have been lost to agriculture and development. The overall goal of the enhancement project is to improve wetland functions, emphasizing habitat conditions for anadromous salmon and trout species in the lower Miami River. The site offers the only opportunity to restore historic tidal spruce swamp habitats and provide a brackish-freshwater transitional zone for out-migrating juvenile salmon in the Miami basin. In addition to salmon and trout, many migratory bird species and waterfowl will benefit as a result of this restoration project. Conducted in partnership with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, this project will employ engineering, biological and project management services; at least one project contractor with crews for equipment operation, loading, hauling, and excavation; and staff from the local utility company to reroute powerlines currently located within the wetland.
Pacific Island Coastal Program -- $220,000 (ARRA) (FFS#R1FB/FC/FD)
Three Coastal Program projects are being funded through ARRA within the State of Hawai‘i. On Moloka‘i, funding will be provided to the Moloka‘i Land Trust to restore 20 acres of coastal plant habitat on the island’s north shore at Anapuka in the Mokio parcel. Workers will be hired to remove invasive kiawe in coastal dunes between ‘Îlio Point and Mo‘omomi. North Molokai has some of the best remaining native coastal habitat in the State and removal of invasive kiawe will allow native plant communities to expand back into these areas. This technique has been used successfully at The Nature Conservancy’s Mo‘omomi Preserve to increase native plant cover.
On Maui, funding will be provided to the Maui Coastal Land Trust to replace an old fence around six-acre Nu‘u Wetland on the south coast of Maui. This area is used as nesting habitat by endangered Hawaiian stilts and coots and is still dominated by native wetland plants. Nçnç and koloa also use the area. The project will include fence construction and outplanting of native wetland plants. Excluding ungulates and controlling predators will increase survival of nesting endangered waterbirds and increase use of the area as a feeding and resting area by many other native birds.
Funding will be provided to Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development on Kaua‘i to produce large numbers of weed-free seeds of native coastal plants for use in revegetating nearby Lehua Island. This project will hire workers to grow native plants on west Kaua‘i whose seeds will be used to restore 285 acres of coastal habitat on Lehua. This project will provide summer and after-school jobs for native Hawaiian students from a local high school.
These projects will allow three private organizations to restore native habitats on coastal lands within the State of Hawai‘i. These lands provide important habitats for native plants and animals that struggle to survive as more areas are developed. They also provide areas for people to reconnect to nature and learn about Hawaiian habitats of old.
Pink Sand Verbena Restoration and Re-introduction in Washington -- $50,000 (ARRA) (FFS#R1FF)
This project will restore two acres of coastal sand dune habitat near Willapa Bay and re-introduce pink sand verbena, a plant species previously thought to be locally extinct or extirpated in Washington. Pink sand verbena is a federal species of concern that was rediscovered in 2006 on a western snowy plover restoration project. One population of this plant has been re-established in Washington. The funding announced today will be used to work in partnership with the Shoalwater Tribe to develop another population in a separate location by restoring coastal sand dune habitat and replanting pink sand verbena to assist with the recovery of this species. This project will fund tribal employees and one contractor to propagate seedlings for outplanting.
Under ARRA, the Department of Interior received $3 billion, providing $280 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that includes $115 million for construction, repair and energy efficiency retrofit projects at Service facilities and $165 million for habitat restoration, deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects. The Service will benefit from an additional $10 million, administered by the Department of Transportation and not included in the Service’s $280 million appropriation, that will be used to rebuild and improve roads on several national wildlife refuges. Projects will immediately create local jobs in the communities where they are located, while stimulating long-term employment and economic opportunities for the American public. The Department of the Interior’s investments under ARRA will help conserve America's timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping middle class families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, employing youth and promoting community service.
For a full list of funded projects nationwide, go to the Department’s Recovery Web Site at http://recovery.doi.gov/. For a list of Service projects, click on the Service’s logo at the bottom of the page. Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery web site, which will include an interactive map that enables the public to track where and how the Department’s recovery dollars are being spent. In addition, the public can submit questions, comments or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secretary Salazar also has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the Recovery Program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency that President Obama has set.
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.