September 9, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards $35 Million for the Conservation of Endangered Species
Christina Meister, 703-358-2284
Jane Chorazy, 503-231-2251
Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii to Receive
More Than $7 Million
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced nearly $35 million in grants to 20 states to help advance their collaborative efforts to conserve America’s rarest species. The cooperative grants will provide vital support to state wildlife agencies and conservation organizations to improve the health of the land and water that supports these species and scores of communities across the nation.
In the Service’s Pacific Region, Idaho, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington received grants totaling more than $7 million. They are:
• $2 million for Heart of the Cascades project in Kittitas County, WA
• $2 million for Mountain View 4-0 Ranch project in Asotin County, WA
• $675,000 for Deschutes Basin Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan in Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Klamath, Sherman, and Wasco counties in OR.
• $980,000 for Beaver Creek Forest Acquisition Project in Lincoln County, OR
• $1,183,750 for Pūpūkea Mauka Watershed and Habitat Protection Project in Honolulu County, HI
• $232,425 for Spalding’s Catchfly Conservation in Latah County, ID
Issued through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act), these competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat that benefits threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.
“Future generations are counting on us to conserve the wild things and wild places that are not only a vital part of our national identity, but also our economic security and our way of life,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund grants are catalysts for partnerships and voluntary conservation efforts at the local level, an essential component of successful endangered species recovery.”
“Private landowners and natural resource managers are the linchpin for the conservation of many of our most threatened species,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “By fostering partnerships between federal, state and local governments, private organizations, and individuals, we can pool our resources to develop creative solutions that will drive critical conservation and recovery efforts. These grants are one of many tools available under the Endangered Species Act and we look forward to providing continued guidance and support for these programs.”
The grant funding is provided through programs established to help advance creative partnerships for the recovery of imperiled species. This year, the fund will allocate approximately $7.4 million in grants through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program; nearly $18 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and $9.5 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program.
“We can wait for fish and wildlife species to decline to the point where we can’t do anything but react with expensive, last-ditch efforts, or we can take proactive steps to conserve wildlife and their habitats before it is too late,” said Dan Forster, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. “These grants will enable state fish and wildlife agencies to carry out important on-the-ground conservation actions with our partners to advance the stewardship of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.”
A complete list of the 2014 grant awards under these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615) is available online at: www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landowner and the Service that allow a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property, even if they may impact listed species. In return, the landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.
Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisitions that complement the conservation objectives of approved HCPs.
The state of Washington will receive $2 million to support the acquisition of over 4,000 acres of strategic habitat parcels in the Cascade Mountains that play a major role in the recovery of the federally listed northern spotted owl, gray wolf and bull trout in the state. This project will also benefit steelhead, Chinook salmon, the northern goshawk as well as numerous other birds and mammals.
Another $2 million will complement the ongoing acquisition of 2,100 acres in Asotin County that includes 1.3 miles of the Lower Grande Ronde River and 2.3 miles of its tributaries, protecting endangered species, as well as interior redband trout, Pacific lamprey and other aquatic species present in these tributaries. This project is part of a large, multi-phased acquisition that, once completed, will protect a total of 13,072 acres and 15 miles of stream. This rare acquisition of a large, ecologically intact and diverse landscape will also protect many upland habitats including cliff and talus habitats, meadows, springs, curl-leaf mahogany shrubland, interior grassland, and ponderosa pine.
The HCP Planning Assistance Grants Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of HCPs through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach and similar planning activities.
In Oregon’s Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Klamath, Sherman, and Wasco counties, $675,000 will fund the Deschutes Basin Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan. This project will benefit aquatic-dependent species in the upper Deschutes Basin, while meeting current and future irrigation and municipal water needs. Seven species will be covered under the HCP, including the federally listed bull trout, as well as the middle Columbia River steelhead and the Oregon spotted frog. When completed, this HCP will provide ecosystem benefits to over 10,700 square miles of the upper Deschutes River basin including 340 miles of the Deschutes River and its tributaries and serve as a model for similar projects throughout the western United States.
The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. Habitat acquisition to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.
The Pkpkkea Mauka Watershed and Habitat Protection Project in Hawai’i will receive $1,183,750
to protect 3,716-acres in perpetuity for an entire watershed that contains the headwaters of a stream that flows undiverted into a protected marine life conservation district. It will facilitate public and management access from the ocean to the mountains in an area where habitat management is critical and vital to the conservation of three critically endangered Oahu tree snails, the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, and more than 20 other threatened or endangered plants and animals.
Protecting the federal listed Spalding’s Catchfly is a priority and the state of Idaho will receive $232,425 to provide a critical link among existing conservation easements and connect some of the last Palouse prairie or grassland remnants. Palouse grasslands are a critically-imperiled ecosystem with less than one percent of their former range remaining and these properties contain some of the largest and best remaining examples of this habitat. The protection of these properties will contribute to the recovery of Spalding’s catchfly, as well as five rare endemic plants through management of this critically endangered ecosystem. Because most of the habitat for Spalding’s catchfly is on private land, ensuring long-term recovery will require securing permanent protection of key conservation areas, as defined in the species’ recovery plan.
The Beaver Creek Forest Reserve Acquisition Project in Oregon will receive $980,000 to protect 160 acres of nesting habitat for the federally threatened marbled murrelet, the northern spotted owl and the red tree vole, a candidate species. The parcel is located within one mile of the Pacific Ocean and contains pristine late seral coastal forest, a contiguous stand known to be occupied by marbled murrelets and is adjacent to designated reserve habitat for the species. The acquisition will become part of the adjacent Beaver Creek State Natural Area at Brian Booth State Park, joining an existing 1,414 acres of protected lands managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, The Wetlands Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management.
The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife, and plants. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, visit www.fws.gov/endangered.