FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2002
The RLA Grants Program provides funding to states for acquisitions of habitat that support approved recovery plans for federally listed species. This program addresses one of the primary threats to federally listed plants and animals nationwide - the loss of habitat - by protecting habitat important to the recovery of federally listed species.
The proposals submitted under the RLA Grants Program were evaluated in a competitive regional review process. Nationally, over $17 million in funding to states was available through the program. This funding is one of several ways the Service works in partnership with States to conserve federally listed and other declining species.
"Last year under the RLA Program, we were pleased to award funding to three of the states in the Southeast Region to aid in the recovery of endangered bats and several federally listed plants," said Sam D. Hamilton, the Service's Southeast Regional Director. "This year with available funding, we can provide funding to help four of the southeastern states acquire and protect habitat essential to the recovery of over 15 federally listed species."
The Service's Southeast Region is comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A portion of the available funding will go to protect habitat in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.
"The Southeastern agencies, with the assistance and willingness of private landowners or efforts taken by local communities, have submitted some great ideas under the RLA program this year. The program continues to grow mainly due to the states' abilities to find workable solutions and partners. This helps them capitalize on opportunities to acquire habitat and to recover listed species," said Hamilton.
The following projects were selected for funding:
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will also receive funding to help purchase land on the Duck River in Marshall and Maury Counties, Tennessee, to aid in the recovery of several federal and state listed aquatic species. The Duck River is one of the most species-rich and diverse rivers in North America for fish and mussels. Three federally listed mussel species and one federal candidate species occur in the area proposed for acquisition. The acquisition of this tract will protect some of the best mussel habitat found in the river and will help ensure essential riparian habitat protection along the river corridor.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.
Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286