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More than $15 Million in Coastal Grants will go to 12 States, Interior Secretary Announces
Alabama, Georgia to receive grants in Southeast

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2006

Contacts:
Ken Burton, 202-208-5657
Jeffrey Fleming, 404/679-7287




The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will award more than $15 million in grants to 12 states to help conserve, restore and protect coastal wetlands, Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced today. In the Southeast, Georgia and Alabama will each receive $928,000 under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.

In Alabama , funding from the grant will help purchase the Point Caddy Wetlands, on Grand Bay in the Mississippi Sound. In Georgia, the grant money will contribute to the acquisition of 1,250 acres and 4.5 miles along the Altamaha River.

Other States to receive funding from the Coastal Grants program in fiscal year 2006 include Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas and Washington.

The grants provide funding for 19 projects and will be supplemented with more than $12 million from state and private partners. The grants are used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands for long-term conservation benefits to wildlife and habitat. Partners in this year’s projects include state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Scenic Galveston , Inc., Wildlife Forever Foundation, and many others.

“When people at so many different levels come together in these kinds of projects, everybody wins,” Norton said. “This is the kind of effort that makes it possible for us to leave a real legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants are awarded to states through a competitive process. The program is funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, with money generated from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels.

“These are win-win projects,” said Service Director Dale Hall. “I’m very excited when we’re able to leverage the taxpayer dollar with our partners and get a lot more value for the money.”

Including the 2006 grants, the Service has awarded more than $165 million in grants to states and insular areas since the program began; when the 2006 projects are complete, they will have protected, restored or enhanced about 14,000 acres. A total of more than 200,000 acres will have been protected or restored since the grant program began.

For more information, contact the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive , Arlington , Virginia 22203 , or Division of Federal Assistance, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive , Arlington , Virginia 22203 , or visit the program’s home page at http://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/.

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 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource 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 Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


Fiscal Year 2006 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Project Proposals in Southeast

Alabama

Point Caddy Wetlands. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will purchase 1,730 acres on Grand Bay in the Mississippi Sound . Another 239 acres are being provided as match. The Grand Bay wetlands provide habitat to recreationally important fish species like spotted sea trout, red snapper and red drum and coastal-dependent and migratory birds.

Partners: The Nature Conservancy of Alabama and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.

Coastal grant:   $928,000
State share:   $745,150
Partners share:   $197,700

      Total cost:

  $1,870,850

Georgia

Sansavilla Wetlands Acquisition. The Department of Natural Resources in the State of Georgia will acquire 1,250 acres and 4.5 miles along the Altamaha River . The Altamaha River Basin is recognized as Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network site and an Important Birding Area by both the Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy.

Partner: The Nature Conservancy.

Coastal grant:   $928,000
Partners share:   $1,000,000
      Total cost:   $1,928,000


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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