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Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals for Funding Through the Private Stewardship Grants Program


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 6, 2004

Contact:
Patricia Fisher, (202) 208-5634


The U.S. Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is seeking proposals for private lands conservation funding through its Private Stewardship Grants Program. About $7.1 million is available to support on-the-ground conservation efforts on private lands through this grant.

As envisioned by President Bush, this program provides Federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit imperiled species including Federally- listed endangered or threatened species as well as proposed, candidate, and other "at-risk" species. Landowners and their partners may submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support those efforts.

"This cost-share grant program exemplifies President Bush's cooperative conservation initiatives," said Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton. "Private stewardship grants encourage and support landowners and their partners to design and carry out efforts to conserve species and protect habitat on private lands."

In May 2003, the Service awarded 113 grants totaling more than $9.4 million to individuals and groups to undertake conservation projects for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species on private lands in 43 states.

The following are examples of how these grants support private conservation efforts and foster the development of voluntary partnerships:

  • Using its $100,000 Private Stewardship Grant, Idaho's Friends of the Teton River partnered with The Donald C. Brace Foundation, The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, The Upper Snake River Fly Fishers Foundation, The Five Star Challenge Grant, the One Fly Foundation, and the Peninsula Community Foundation to help restore Teton River fish habitat. To date, three projects that are part of the group's Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Habitat Restoration Project have begun on private lands to stabilize and revegetate the river's streambanks. Volunteers, such as teacher Barb Agnew and her Tetonia 4th grade class, have planted willow trees. Wetland sod planted with native sedges and grasses will be placed over erosion control matting and all previously disturbed areas are to be seeded with native grasses next summer.

  • Umikoa Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii received a $127,700 Private Stewardship Grant and quickly implemented a program to protect endangered species by improving habitat while reducing threats posed by invasive species. The private landowners constructed a pond to benefit endangered wildlife; installed an ungulate exclusion fence to protect 50 acres of land to benefit endangered plants and enhance native habitat; and plan to eliminate invasive species within special management areas. The endangered Hawaiian Duck has been sighted on ranch lands and the project is located within the historic range of numerous other listed species such as the Hawaii Creeper and the Hawaiian Hawk. In addition, ALU LIKE Inc., a nonprofit organization, will plant native species to help landowners improve the habitat's diversity and health.

  • The Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) is using its $22,000 Private Stewardship Grant to continue projects aimed at restoring black-tailed prairie dog colonies on the Vermejo Park Ranch. Owned by Turner Enterprises, Inc., the ranch contains about 60,000 contiguous acres of shortgrass prairie in northern New Mexico. The TESF has been restoring black-tailed prairie dogs to the area for the past 4 years, primarily by moving groups from the few large existing colonies to establish new colonies. The TESF has established 29 colonies and several new colonies have established on their own. The project will continue for the next several years, with the intent of reintroducing black-footed ferrets and benefitting other listed, candidate, or special status species. In addition, with its grant award, The TESF is establishing 9 new prairie dog colonies and developing a plague monitoring system for all the colonies as well as a plague response program. The TESF estimates more than 40,000 acres of the project area are suitable habitat for prairie dogs based on the types of landscapes already occupied and the success of re-introductions at various other sites.

For more information regarding this grant opportunity and on how and where to submit proposals, please visit the Service's Private Stewardship Grants website at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship.html. You may also contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of State Grants, Endangered Species Program, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203 Phone: (703) 358-2061.

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 542 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.

 


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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