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Assistant Secretary of Interior Announces Grants in Florida & Georgia

 

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2004

Contacts:
Tom MacKenzie, (404) 679-7291, cell: (678) 296-6400
Rose Rodriguez, Tall Timbers Research Station, 850-893-4153 ext 258

 

WHO:

Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior

WHAT:

Press Availability on Grants Announcement & Tour of red-cockaded woodpecker habitat to highlight cooperative conservation grants.

WHEN:

1:00 p.m. (EST) Thursday, August 26, 2004

WHERE:

Tall Timbers Research Station
13093 Henry Beadel Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32312-0918 (850) 893-4153
Map at: http://www.ttrs.org/locate.htm

WHY:

This event has been scheduled to help to showcase the role that private lands can play in rare species conservation and management. Assistant Secretary Manson will make the announcement following the signing of an executive order by President Bush calling on federal agencies to work in partnership with states, tribes, local communities, conservation organizations, private citizens and others to accomplish the nation’s conservation goals. The grants in Florida are being awarded to private citizens, conservation groups, and Native American tribes under three programs initiated by President Bush – the Private Stewardship Grant program, the Tribal Landowner Incentive Program, and the Tribal Wildlife Grant Program. Following the announcement at Tall Timbers, media is invited to a tour 15 miles north to a private property, where a population of federal endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers has expanded as a result of these private lands programs.

“Under President Bush’s leadership, the Interior Department has awarded more than $1.3 billion in cooperative conservation grants in the past three years,” said Manson. “We believe that working in partnership with the people of Florida, Georgia and other states is the most effective approach we can take in conserving our wildlife and its habitat for future generations.”

A Department of the Interior Private Stewardship grant for $72,018 will be awarded to the Red Hills Ecological Stewardship Consortium, which is part of Tall Timbers Research Station. The Consortium will use the grant to support the largest population of red cockaded woodpeckers on private lands in north Florida and southwest Georgia (Leon County, Florida and Thomas and Grady Counties, Georgia). This second phase of the project includes: meeting landowners whose lands support red cockaded woodpeckers, developing Safe Harbor Agreements for eight new properties, excavating 50 new cavity trees, providing incentives for managing woodpecker habitat and cavity trees, marking 100 cavity trees, and increasing awareness of the role private landowners play in conserving biodiversity of this region. The target species for this project is the federally-endangered red cockaded woodpecker, but numerous other species dependent upon the longleaf pine ecosystem are also expected to benefit such as the gopher tortoise, Florida pine snake, Bachman’s sparrow, Sherman’s fox squirrel.



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