Wildlife Agencies Receive Grants to Work with Landowners to Conserve
August 7, 2006
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:
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
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.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will receive $180,000
and match $60,000 to help 149 landowners in managing habitat on their
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.
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.
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.
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
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.