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Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Private Stewardship Grants to Landowners for Endangered Species Conservation
Projects in Southeast Region receive more than $1.1 million

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2005

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



Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced grants totaling more than $5.7 million to private landowners and groups in 38 states and one territory to undertake conservation projects on their land for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species thanks to the Administration’s Private Stewardship Grants Program. The new grants will benefit several Southeastern species including the red-cockaded woodpecker, the Puerto Rican boa, the Florida black bear, the gopher tortoise, the Key deer, the r elict darter, sea turtles, and the Louisiana pine snake.

“The Private Stewardship Grants Program encourages citizens to take conservation into their own hands by providing incentives for and flexibility in the development of on-the-ground solutions for the conservation of locally imperiled species,” Norton said. “This seed money supports the growing partnership between Americans and the federal government as we work together to find better and more cost-effective ways to conserve at-risk species found on private lands.”

Administered by the Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, each of the 72 grants awarded today require at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.

Now in its third year, 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 submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts.

The Administration has requested funding of $10 million for this program in 2006; last year, 97 grants totaling more than $7 million were awarded to private individuals and groups in 39 states. In the first two years of the program, 210 grants totaling more than $16 million were awarded to private landowners across the country.

“Private Stewardship grants continue to provide support to private landowners who have made voluntary commitments to conserve species on their land,” said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan.

Following the recent rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas, Secretary Norton set aside $800,000 from the fiscal year 2005 Private Stewardship Grants Program to fund a separate “call for proposals” for projects specifically designed to benefit that species’ conservation. The Service recently announced the availability of this grant money through www.Grants.gov. Additional information may be found at: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/grants/

The 2005 Private Stewardship Grant projects selected for funding in the Southeast are:

ALABAMA:

Building from the Core – (application by Alabama Forest Resources Center) – Bullock, Russell, and Macon Counties, Alabama – ($143,795) – The Alabama Forest Resources Center will work with two plantation owners in southeastern Alabama to restore suitable habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and other imperiled species using the successful "Red Hills Red-cockaded Woodpecker Model." This project will build from one of the few red-cockaded woodpecker core populations in the State and seeks to expand the red-cockaded woodpecker population through burning, planting, mid-story control, and Safe Harbor implem entation.

FLORIDA:

Nokuse Plantation (application by a private landowner) Walton County, Florida – ($180,000) – The grant to Nokuse Plantation, a 53,000 acre site within the proposed Northwest Florida Greenway, will restore an historical longleaf pine-wiregrass community on approximately 4,392 acres by undertaking prescribed burning and planting longleaf pine seedlings. These actions will help establish a protected landscape-level wildlife corridor between Eglin Air Force Base and the Choctawhatchee River Wildlife Management Area and will benefit the project's two flagship species, the gopher tortoise and the Florida black bear.

Project GreenSweep – (application by The Nature Conservancy) – Monroe County, Florida – ($92,698) – The Nature Conservancy will work with private landowners on lands adjacent to Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge to eradicate invasive species on 44.25 acres of land. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will complement this project by undertaking exotics removal on public land in the project area. The overall effort will restore habitat for 18 federally-listed and candidate species, and 44 state-listed species, including four species of sea turtles and Key deer.

Restoration of Florida Scrub – (application by Archbold Biological Station) – Highlands County, Florida – ($24,255) – Archbold Biological Station, with support from The Natives, will restore 161 acres of Florida scrub, a globally-imperiled plant community, along the Lake Wales Ridge in central Florida. The grantee will remove exotic grasses, cut overgrown shrub thickets, grow and transplant scrub plants, collect seeds from eight federally- and state-listed scrub herbs, and sow the seeds into restoration sites.

KENTUCKY:

Upper Cumberland River – (application by Cumberland Valley RC&D Council, Inc.) – Jackson, Rockcastle, Laurel, Knox, Whitley, Bell, and Harlan Counties, Kentucky – ($52,000) – The Cumberland Valley RC&D Council will work with at least seven private landowners to restore aquatic habitat and implement best management practices on private lands to aid in the recovery of 28 aquatic species, including fish and mussels. These practices include providing forested riparian buffers, grassed waterways, livestock exclusion fencing, and stream bank stabilization. This project will complement work being accomplished by nine other partners on private lands in the Upper Cumberland River.

Aquatic Habitat Restoration of Three Mississippi River Tributaries – (application by Jackson Purchase Resource Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc.) – Fulton, Hickman, and Graves Counties, Kentucky – ($53,560) – The Jackson Purchase Resource Conservation and Development Foundation will work with at least six private landowners in three watersheds to restore aquatic habitat through riparian restoration, stream bank stabilization, reforestation, and hydrolog ical restoration. The specific recovery actions will benefit four federal and 18 state threatened or endangered aquatic species, including the endangered relict darter.

LOUISIANA:

Louisiana Pine Snake – (application by International Paper) – Bienville Parish, Louisiana – ($45,400) – International Paper will undertake prescribed burning on 1,865 acres in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The grantee will also create 15 miles of fire lines and plant 25 acres of longleaf pine seedlings to improve habitat to benefit the largest documented population of Louisiana pine snake. The Louisiana pine snake is a candidate species for potential listing under the Endangered Species Act.

NORTH CAROLINA:

Long Valley Farm – (application by The Nature Conservancy) – Cumberland and Harnett Counties, North Carolina – ($38,633) – The Nature Conservancy will plant longleaf pine seedlings and wiregrass seed, re-introduce prescribed fire, restore longleaf pine savan nas through manual clearing of hardwoods, and create new fire lines, where necessary, to benefit the red-cockaded woodpecker and other rare species on Long Valley Farm, North Carolina. The project site is within the 1500-acre Long Valley Farm which, when restored, will provide important foraging and nesting habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker. It will also provide a key habitat corridor linking red-cocked woodpecker groups on two training areas in the northeastern section of Ft. Bragg.

PUERTO RICO:

Hacienda Central Pellejas – (application by a private landowner) – Puerto Rico – ($115,627) – The grantee will restore two miles of riparian habitat along the southeast tributaries of the Pellejas River in Puerto Rico, and implement a grazing management plan to benefit 12 listed or at-risk species. The grantee will construct 200,000 linear feet of fencing, establish five livestock grazing areas within 200 acres of tropical uplands, remove exotic species, a nd plant 5,600 native trees along the riparian buffer zone. The project site is part of a landscape corridor connecting several Commonwealth Natural Reserves in the central mountains of Puerto Rico that will contribute to the recovery of several endangered species such as the Puerto Rican boa and the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned Hawk.

SOUTH CAROLINA:

Okeetee Club, Inc. – (application by Okeetee Club, Inc.) – Jasper County, South Carolina – ($95,070) – The Okeetee Club will undertake habitat improvement on portions of its 50,000-acre site by controlling understory and midstory hardwood encroachment on 1,058 acres and by undertaking prescribed burns on approximately 1,770 acres. The areas treated with herbicides will be maintained in the future with the use of prescribed fire. This project will improve habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker as well as other species dependent upon the longleaf pine community.

Turkey and Cuffeytown Creek – (applicat ion by The Nature Conservancy) – Edgefield, Greenwood and McCormick Counties, South Carolina – ($66,628) – The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina will work with private landowners and other partners, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Conservation and Development District, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Upper Savannah Land Trust, and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, to implement best management practices that will reduce sediment and improve water quality for the endangered Carolina heelsplitter and other imperiled mussels and endemic fish species. The project addresses Carolina heelsplitter recovery objectives in Turkey and Cuffeytown Creeks, which contain three of the seven remaining populations of Carolina heelsplitter.

MULTI-STATE PROJECTS:

Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi: Pine Ecosystem Conservation – (application by the American Forest Foundation in partnership with the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Environmental Defense) – Multiple Counties in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi – ($140,000) – The American Forest Foundation will partner with Environmental Defense, the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and volunteers to restore fire-maintained southern pine communities, especially longleaf pine, in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. They will implement "on-the-ground" habitat restoration on family forest lands and encourage enrollment in Safe Harbor agreements to benefit the gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, black pine snake, and other at-risk species.

Georgia and Florida: Red Hills Ecological Stewardship Consortium – (application by Tall Timbers Research Station) – Thomas and Grady Counties, Georgia and Leon County, Florida – ($50,859) – Tall Timbers Research Station will work with private landowners in the Red Hills of Georgia to construct approximately 60 artificial cavities, implement the proposed reintroduction of a population of red-cockaded woodpeckers to Tall Timbers Research Station upon Service approval of a Reintroduction Memorandum of Understanding and associated Management Plan, recruit landowners into Safe Harbor agreements, educate landowners about incentives to conserve endangered species, monitor nest productivity to assist in translocation efforts, and protect cavity trees and core cluster areas. The grantee will also develop a Century Forest Initiative to maintain the connectivity of the region's mature pine forests.

 


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