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Request for Proposals -- Grants to States for Endangered Species Conservation


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 11, 2004

Contact:
Patricia Fisher, 202-208-1459
Don Morgan, 703-358-2106



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking proposals from states and U.S. territories interested in acquiring land or conducting conservation planning for endangered species. Congress has appropriated $71million for fiscal year 2004 to support grants awarded under the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.

“These grant programs are important not only because they fund projects that protect irreplaceable habitat for threatened and endangered species, but also because they are the building blocks for ensuring strong conservation partnerships among states, territories, private organizations, landowners and the Service,” said Service Director Steve Williams.

As authorized under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, these grants are available to states and territories to support their participation in a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for listed species, as well as for species that are either proposed or candidates for listing. By law, the state or territory must have a current cooperative agreement with the Service and contribute 25 percent of the estimated program costs of approved projects, or 10 percent when two or more states or territories undertake a joint project. The grants are expected to be awarded in summer 2004.

The Service is seeking proposals for the following three grant categories under the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund:

Recovery Land Acquisition Grants - These grants provide funds to states and territories for acquisition of habitat for endangered and threatened species in support of approved recovery plans. Acquisition of habitat to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.

Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants - These grants provide funds to states and territories to support the development of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs), through the support of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach, and similar planning activities.

HCP Land Acquisition Grants - These grants provide funds to states and territories to acquire land associated with approved HCPs. Grants do not fund the mitigation required of an HCP permittee; instead, they support acquisitions by the State or local governments that complement actions associated with the HCP.

Some examples from the fiscal year 2003 program of how these grants are making a difference include:

  • Along the Clinch River in Hancock County, Tennessee, a significant portion of the yles Ford shoal, which harbors the most diverse mussel community in Tennessee, is being acquired and protected with funding provided through a Recovery Land Acquisition grant. The Clinch River is one of the last major strongholds of Cumberlandian mussel fauna, and the Kyles Ford mussel shoal has been identified as the most biologically diverse mussel habitat on Earth; at least 10 federally-listed mussel species occur on the shoal.

  • A Recovery Land Acquisition grant is providing funds to the North Dakota Game and Fish Dept, American Foundation for Wildlife, The Conservation Fund, and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust to acquire approximately 1,387 acres at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers to protect and enhance habitat for the federally- endangered pallid sturgeon. This land shelters the last stronghold and best remaining habitat for the pallid sturgeon and supports several imperiled fish species. It has one of the strongest populations of paddlefish as well as healthy populations of imperiled sicklefin and sturgeon chub. The acquisition will also provide improved management opportunities for the federally-listed least tern and piping plover.

  • A Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant in Riverside County, California, will benefit more than 100 federal- and State-listed wildlife species by supporting efforts to conserve habitat in large, interconnected blocks. These species include the federally-threatened coastal California gnatcatcher and the federally endangered least Bell’s vireo and Stephen’s kangaroo rat. The plant communities found in the area, including sage scrub and riparian habitat, are representative of the original, native habitats of the region. The additional public benefits of maintaining these areas as open space include various recreational purposes such as hiking and mountain biking.

  • In Monroe County, Indiana, a Habitat Conservation Land Acquisition grant will support the acquisition of a 293-acre parcel that is home to Coon and Grotto caves. These caves provide winter shelter for hibernating endangered Indiana bats. Since 1985, when winter disturbances to the caves were removed, the winter population of Indiana bats has increased steadily to more than 20,000 in the two caves combined. This acquisition will not only protect the critical winter habitat, but also ensure protection for fall swarming, spring staging, and summer foraging for Indiana bats. Other known state-listed species to benefit through this acquisition include the bobcat, a cave crayfish, and two cave beetles.

  • With the help of a Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance grant, the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance, in Pima County, Arizona, will develop a watershed-wide habitat protection and restoration plan in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Arizona State Land Department, and Arizona Department of Water Resources. Altar Valley harbors one of the last intact Sonoran savanna grasslands in southern Arizona, as well as riparian and Madrean oak woodland habitats, and is home to 24 species of concern, including five federally-listed species. The Altar Valley provides habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl and is important for the recovery of Pima pineapple cactus. It is the largest unfragmented landscape in eastern Pima County, encompassing approximately 700,000 acres on the US/Mexico border.

  • A Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance grant will help fund the development of an Habitat Conservation Plan in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, to benefit the federally-endangered West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel and federally-threatened Cheat Mountain Salamander. The project will determine the presence or absence of the West Virginia northern flying squirrel along the western slope of Cheat Mountain; develop a habitat quality ranking and define the breeding season for West Virginia northern flying squirrels; survey for the Cheat Mountain salamander in areas covered by the focused Habitat Conservation Plan; and use satellite imagery to identify squirrel and salamander habitat.

The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund appears as number 15.615 in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. For more information about these grants contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Consultation, Habitat Conservation Planning, Recovery and State Grants, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203, 703-358-2106.

Information also can be accessed at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/.

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 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 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 that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



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