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State Wildlife Agencies Receive Grants to Work with Landowners to Conserve At-risk Species

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2006

Contacts:
Valerie Fellows, 202/208-5634


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced nearly $19 million in competitive funding for 37 States and Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands fish and wildlife agencies under the Bush Administration's innovative Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). The program supports cooperative efforts with private landowners interested in conserving natural habitat for species at risk, including federally listed endangered or threatened species and proposed or candidate species.

"Conservation, especially conservation of imperiled species, must be a partnership between the American people and their government," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. "By providing these grants, we empower citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps to protect and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species."

LIP, funded through competitive grants with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, establishes or supplements existing landowner incentive programs that provide technical or financial assistance to private landowners. All grants need to be matched by at least 25 percent from a non-federal source.

Landowners interested in participating in LIP should contact their State fish and wildlife agency. For more information about the grant programs, please visit <http://federalaid.fws.gov/lip/lip.html.> The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance reference number is 15.633.

A brief summary of the projects funded in the Southeast follows:

Alabama:

The Alabama Game and Fish Department will receive $856,750 and match $424,646 to help restore 115 species of special concern and 34 federally listed aquatic and cave species found in the Middle Tennessee River drainage. The specific project area includes Fern Cave which is the largest hibernaculum for endangered gray bats as well as thousands of other caves that harbor at
least 24 cave dependent species found only in this project area. The Paint Rock River, where much of the aquatic restoration will occur, contains 98 species of freshwater fishes and 58 species of mussels. The project will work with private landowners to stabilize stream banks, restore bottomland hardwoods and riparian areas, exclude livestock from streams, construct fish passage, and install gates at the entrance to caves.

Florida:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will receive $180,000 and match $60,000 to help 149 landowners in managing habitat on their land.

Kentucky:

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will receive $180,000 and match $60,000 to further supply landowner assistance and provide necessary administrative expenditures.

Mississippi:

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will receive $180,000 and match $60,000 to coordinate with numerous partners who will develop conservation easements, conduct prescribed burning, repair riparian corridors, and restore longleaf pine ecosystems. These activities are expected to benefit 196 at-risk species. Additional outreach efforts to landowners will include field days, workshops, brochures, broadcasts and public presentations. Previous LIP funding was used to develop a bottomland hardwood restoration handbook. Mississippi employs a full time LIP coordinator and a project supervisor to implement the program.

Puerto Rico:

The Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources will receive $75,000 and match $43,694 to provide the needed funds to focus some existing partnerships on needs for species of special concern.

Tennessee:

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will receive more than $945,000 and match $358,461 to address the State's rich cave resources that house two federally listed species, 6 candidates for listing, and 29 species of special concern. Last year, researchers identified 9 cave species that were new to science. Aquatic resources to be addressed include 59 at risk species. Proposed cooperative actions with private landowners include livestock exclusion, shoreline restoration and protection, creation of riparian buffers and hardened stream access. Cave protection activities include cave entrance barriers, waste removal from sinkholes and vegetated buffer zones.

U.S. Virgin Islands:

The U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Fish and Wildlife will receive $75,000 to address a variety of endangered and threatened species found on private lands. The Nature Conservancy will assist the agency with planned activities.

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 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 and Native American tribal 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.

 


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



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