Amy Gaskill, Pacific Region Public Affairs (503) 231-6874
Grants will fund projects on private lands
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced nearly $13 million in competitive funding for 17 state fish and wildlife agencies under the Landowner Incentive Program. The program supports cooperative efforts with private landowners interested in conserving natural habitat for species at risk, including federally listed endangered or threatened species and proposed or candidate species.
Three states in the Service's Pacific Region - Idaho, Oregon and Washington - will receive grants totaling more than $2.5 million for projects to conserve nearly 5,500 acres of habitat for at-risk species. The projects will benefit wetland, estuary, grassland, shrub-steppe and prairie habitats.
"This is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, making partnerships with private citizens to conserve at-risk species increasingly important," said Ren Lohoefener, Director of the Service's Pacific Region. "By providing programs where we can help citizens restore habitat on their land we are, together, protecting and enhancing endangered, threatened and imperiled species."
The competitive grants are funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and establish or supplement existing landowner incentive programs that provide technical or financial assistance to private landowners. All grants need to be matched by funding of at least 25 percent from a non-Federal source.
For more information about the grant programs, please visit http://federalaid.fws.gov/lip/lip.html. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance reference number is 15.633.
Landowner Incentive Program projects in the Pacific Northwest are:
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will receive $849,510 that will be used to restore, or enhance approximately 1,800 acres of upland habitat, 300 acres of wetlands and 4 miles of streams. Funding will also be used to obtain conservation easements on 115 acres of Palouse Prairie remnants to benefit targeted at-risk species. Idaho will focus their on-the-ground work in the Upper Henry's Fork watershed, Bear River Basin, and Palouse Prairie Conservation Priority Areas.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will receive $849,510 to provide financial support and technical assistance to restore or enhance approximately 840 acres of sagebrush, wetland, and riparian habitat, and nine miles of stream habitat to benefit the greater sage-grouse and Coho salmon, as well as other at-risk species.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will receive $849,510 to provide financial support and technical assistance to protect, restore, or enhance approximately 3,500 feet of river and 130 acres of floodplain habitat, provide salmon access to 100 acres of river habitat, and obtain conservation easements on 2,170 acres to protect critical floodplain, estuary, and shrub-steppe habitat to benefit the greater sage-grouse and salmon species, as well as other at-risk species. For this fiscal year, Washington will focus their on-the-ground work in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion and in Hood Canal.
The Landowner Incentive Program will not be funded next year. While cooperative conservation remains a significant part of the Service's efforts, recent evaluations have indicated that this program is duplicative of other programs. At-risk species will benefit by shifting resources from this program to others that can demonstrate results such as the National Wildlife Refuge System, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act programs.
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 97-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.