Brent Lawrence, 703-358-2014
Joan Jewett, 503-231-6211
Projects in the Service’s Pacific Region Receive $8.4 million
Today, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced $20 million in grants to 24 critical coastal wetland projects in 13 states and territories to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. An additional $21.3 million in matching funds will be provided by partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups through the 2013 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program.
In the Pacific Region, eight projects in Washington, one in Oregon and one in American Samoa will receive a total of $8.4 million, with partners contributing $4.4 million in matching funds.
“When President Obama unveiled his America’s Great Outdoors initiative three years ago, our goal was to work with communities across the country to create a 21st century conservation ethic,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “Our coastal grants program is a model of this kind of partnership, conserving vital wetlands hand-in-hand with partners from Maine to the Pacific Northwest to as far away as American Samoa in the South Pacific.”
Coastal areas comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area yet support a significant number of wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish and about half of all threatened and endangered species.
“These coastal wetlands are extremely important to the future of both wildlife and humans,” Ashe said. “As Superstorm Sandy showed, it is essential to have natural wetlands available to act as a buffer against extreme weather events.
“Coastal wetlands also serve as some of nature’s most productive fish and wildlife habitat while providing improved water quality and abundant recreational opportunities for local communities. These grants will help our state partners implement some high-quality projects that support conservation and outdoor recreation.”
The grants will be used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitat. States and territories receiving funds are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and American Samoa.
The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels.
The grants support President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative for conservation, recreation and reconnecting people to the outdoors.
In the Pacific Region, the grants include:
WASHINGTON: Oakland Bay Estuary Conservation Phase 3: The Washington Department of Ecology, working with multiple partners, will acquire, restore and permanently protect 76 acres of biologically sensitive estuary, nearshore, and riparian habitat in the Johns Creek watershed which empties into Oakland Bay. The project will reconnect the project site to Oakland Bay, reestablish tidal inundation and nearshore function, and return a golf course area to native saltmarsh, shrubs and trees. The project site includes a 4,000 foot stretch of marine shoreline with remnant channels and emergent salt marsh, and the mouth and part of lower Johns Creek, all of which provide important fish and wildlife habitat. This project is part of a larger, strategic effort to conserve key marine near shore and freshwater habitat in the Oakland Bay watershed, as outlined in the South Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan. Grant: $1,000,000; Non-federal cost share: $1,300,000.
OREGON: Sand Lake Estuary Wetland Acquisition: The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, working in partnership with the North Coast Land Conservancy, will acquire 167 acres of coastal wetlands within the Sand Lake Estuary. Of the 36 major estuaries recognized in Oregon, the Sand Lake Estuary is one of the most ecologically intact estuaries on the Oregon Coast and is dominated by a diverse set of native plant associations. The aquatic system includes intertidal salt marsh, tidal channels, and forested wetlands that connect to a number of stream systems. The property includes 1.5 miles of Sand Creek, which is one of the major stream corridors and a migratory pathway for salmon and steelhead. The Sand Lake property and estuary also support over 43 species of birds including shorebirds, waterfowl, bald eagle, dunlin, rufous hummingbird, and willow flycatcher. Grant: $625,000; Non-federal cost share: $285,000.
AMERICAN SAMOA: Restoration of Leone Village Coastal Wetlands: This is the first National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grant awarded to American Samoa. The American Samoa Department of Commerce and its partners will restore 18.3 acres of coastal wetland habitat with the goal of addressing the degradation and loss of coastal wetland and coral reef habitat in Leone Village, including damage from a devastating 2009 tsunami event. The Leone wetland area consists of one of the largest and most important mangrove swamps in American Samoa, which was designated as a Special Management Area in 1990. The four main project activities being proposed are community management, tsunami debris removal, coral reef restoration, and mangrove restoration. Community members will participate in all phases of restoration. Enhancing and improving the wetland habitats will benefit the marine, freshwater and terrestrial wildlife associated with mangroves and coral reefs, as well as increase the resiliency of the ecosystem to future impacts from natural disasters and climate change. Grant: $269,000; Non-federal cost share: $93,850.
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.
Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFWSPacific, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/USFWSPacific, watch our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific