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A Promise Fulfilled --
Landowners Receive $9.4 Million to Conserve Imperiled Species Under New Grant Program
-- $1.7 Million to 20 Projects in Eight Southeastern States --


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 28, 2003

Contact:
Patricia Fisher, (202) 208-5634
Tom MacKenzie, (404) 679-7291


Under the new Private Stewardship Grant program envisioned by President Bush when he was still Texas governor, the Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced 113 grants totaling more than $9.4 million to individuals and groups to undertake conservation projects on private lands in 43 states for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species. Here in the Southeast, $1.7 million is being awarded in 20 grants in eight states including: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina & South Carolina (click here for details on Southeast projects).

President Bush originally proposed the creation of the Private Stewardship Grant program during a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in June 2000. The grants announced today, the first ever awarded under the program, will benefit species ranging from the whooping crane in Nebraska to the bald eagle in the state of Washington. Each grant must be matched by at least 10 percent of the total project cost either in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.

“Conservation, and especially the conservation of imperiled species, must be a partnership between the American people and their government,” said Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton. “By making these grants, we are empowering citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps to protect and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species.”

“Judging from the number of truly innovative grant proposals we reviewed, landowners across the U.S. are eager to work with us to conserve at-risk species,” said Service Director Steve Williams. “We anticipate this public/private partnership will result in significant conservation achievements for wildlife and wildlife habitat.”

The Private Stewardship Grants Program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit federally listed endangered or threatened species, candidate species or other at-risk species. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working with private landowners are able to submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts. President Bush has requested funding of $10 million for this program in 2004.

The following are some examples by state of the Private Stewardship Grants funded today:

  • Alabama:

    Mobile Area Water and Sewer System: A Plan to Enhance and Maintain Longleaf Pine Habitat in Mobile County ($106,046)
    This project will help preserve, enhance and sustain gopher tortoise populations and other species, including restoration of a longleaf pine ecosystem. These actions, designed to benefit eight at-risk species, include prescribed burning on 1,000 acres; using herbicides to control exotics on 300 acres; installing 4.5 miles of perimeter fencing; and constructing two creek crossings for management purposes. The project not only seeks to protect sensitive species but also to protect the City of Mobile’s water supply.

  • Alaska:

    North Slope Borough: Restoration and Enhancement of Habitat Adjacent to Barrow ($176,814)
    This project will restore and enhance habitat near Barrow to reduce mortality and increase the nesting success of the federally threatened Steller’s and spectacled eiders and other species at risk. The project will have two components: 1) trail hardening to reduce ATV disturbance to nesting areas and 2) installation of bird flight diverters to power lines to reduce mortality to birds due to collisions with wires.

    Yakutat Salmon Board: Moonwort Protection and ATV User Outreach ($34,870)
    This project protects two rare moonwort plant species threatened by a number of biological and human impacts including ATV use. First, the project will provide immediate site protection of populations near Yakutat, Alaska by cordoning off high-density moonwort areas and redirecting ATV traffic. Second, the project will create a 30 minute educational video using footage of site protection efforts that were used in the first part of the project, including responsible ATV use.

  • Arizona:

    Malpai Borderlands Group: ($100,000)
    This project will improve habitat on the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge for endangered and sensitive species of the Rio Yaqui River system by building small diversion structures on private lands outside the refuge boundaries to reduce and reverse erosion along tributary drainages. This project will benefit 34 federally listed, state listed or at-risk species including the Huachuca water umbel, an endangered plant; theYaqui chub, Yaqui shiner, and Yaqui topminnow, all desert fish; the Chiricahua leopard frog; the Northern Aplomado falcon; the southwestern willow flycatcher, a bird; and the yellow-billed cuckoo.

  • California:

    The Nature Conservancy/County of Santa Barbara: Santa Cruz Island Native Plant Restoration Project ($40,000)
    This is a multi-phase project designed to restore native plant communities on Santa Cruz Island by removing non-native woody species. It also will provide habitat benefits for up to eight federally or state listed species and 20 species of concern.

  • Florida:

    National Audubon, Audubon Florida, Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries: Protection and Management of Coastal Bird Colonies in Florida ($85,000)
    This project supports continued management of 30 species of colonially nesting waterbirds through enhanced security, monitoring, invasive plant control, habitat restoration, and public outreach. Twelve the species expected to benefit from this project are federally and/or state-listed including the brown pelican, white ibis, tricolored heron, black skimmer, wood stork and roseate spoonbill.

  • Illinois:

    Fox Valley Land Foundation: Managing Habitat for the Threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid in Northern Illinois ($79,500)
    This project seeks to increase the number of eastern prairie fringed orchid populations on private lands in northern Illinois through monitoring activities and managing habitat to support stable or increasing populations.

  • Kansas:

    Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation: Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation/High Plains Partnership ($100,000)
    This project will help continue a rancher-led initiative that has successfully enhanced mixed-grass and prairie stream habitat for at-risk species such as the black-tailed prairie dog, the lesser prairie chicken, the federally listed Arkansas River shiner and Arkansas darter, both fish. Participating ranchers will use a variety of resource management tools such as altered grazing management, prescribed burning, cutting of invasive woody species and stream restoration to improve habitat for these species.

  • Maryland:

    Anne and Robbie Wiley: Habitat Improvement for the Delmarva fox squirrel (DFS) in Dorchester County ($33,322)
    This project will improve disturbed woodlands for the benefit of the endangered DFS and includes a survey to assess the benefits of these habitat improvements. An area of previously clearcut and select cut woods in lower Dorchester County will be improved by clearing dead debris and grading the woodland floor. Replanting with trees and seed/fruit bearing shrubs will offer a long- term food source for the Delmarva fox squirrel.

  • Mississippi:

    American Bird Conservancy, American Forest Foundation, Environmental Defense, and Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Restore longleaf and southern pine forest habitat in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi ($315,475)
    This project seeks to develop and implement multi-species Safe Harbor Agreements/Candidate Conservation Agreements simultaneous to pine ecosystem habitat restoration efforts such as prescribed burning, thinning, hardwood control, and regeneration. It also includes an outreach and education plan using “Field Day” demonstrations, a “Conservation Handbook,” and a conservation education trail to reach out to landowners. Covering 23 counties in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, the project will restore fire-maintained long leaf and other southern pine habitat for the benefit of gopher tortoise, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, black pine snake, Northern Bobwhite, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman's Sparrow, Prairie Warbler, Henslow's Sparrow, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and other species.

  • Nebraska:

    Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc.: Platte River Channel Habitat Restoration and Enhancement ($97,500)
    This project will restore river channel, wet meadow and wetland habitats on a segment of the Platte River that is habitat for endangered whooping cranes, threatened piping plovers and endangered least terns, as well the endangered pallid sturgeon and numerous other at-risk species. It will restore habitat for listed species along 60 miles of the Platte River and features partnerships with numerous private landowners.

  • New York:

    The Nature Conservancy: F.E.E.T. On the Ground, Long Island ($82,5000)
    This project will improve ground management of piping plovers and other beach dependent species such as the common tern and black shiner on eastern Long Island, NY. The work will focus on privately owned nesting areas or areas that are significantly impacted by the activities of landowners on adjacent properties.

  • Oregon:

    The Nature Conservancy of Oregon: Willamette Valley ($289,760)
    This project will restore riparian, prairie, and oak woodland habitat and habitat conditions for a total of 21 separate populations of seven federally listed species including Fender’s blue butterfly, Oregon chub, Willamette Valley daisy, Bradshaw’s lomatium, the streaked horned lark, a candidate species, and five Federal species of concern including northwestern pond turtle, yellow-breasted chat, and white-tip aster. In addition, the project will provide additional benefits for eight at- risk species including western meadowlark (the State bird), and western gray squirrel and will enhance existing at-risk species benefits at five important sites in the Willamette Valley ecoregion. It will also provide a foundation of restored habitat and restoration capacity on which to base coordinated species recovery efforts on targeted private lands throughout the Willamette Valley.

  • Pennsylvania:

    Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: Muddy Creek “Friends of the Mussels” Streambank Restoration and Riparian Protection ($75,000)
    This project will help improve water quality and habitat for federally endangered freshwater mussels such as the clubshell mussel, and state listed freshwater mussels and fish species including the creek heelsplitter mussel and the Ohio lamprey. It will protect state listed riparian and wetland plant species through revegetation of riparian areas with native species; restoration of eroded streambanks using vegetative stabilization techniques; fencing of livestock from streams, riparian, and wetland areas; and wetland restoration.

  • Washington:

    Whatcom Conservation District : Tenmile Creek Watershed Volunteer Riparian Pilot Program ($116,632)
    This project supports ongoing grassroots efforts of voluntary in-stream and riparian habitat restoration along reaches of Ten Mile, Four Mile, and Deer Creeks which are tributaries to the Nooksack River in Whatcom County, WA. Activities will restore critical spawning and rearing habitats for listed chinook, bulltrout, and coho salmon. The project benefits mostly salmonids and has a significant amount of landowner participation.


For a complete list of Private Partnership Stewardship grant awards, please visit: http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship.html and http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship/Awards.pdf.

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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 540 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 governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 


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