Secretary Salazar Announces More than $41 Million to Purchase Wetlands and Fund Grants for Migratory Waterfowl Habitat More than $7 Million in Waterfowl Habitat Grants Approved for Southeastern States
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2009
Hugh Vickery (DOI) 202-501-4633
Joshua Winchell (FWS) 703-358-2279
Tom MacKenzie (FWS) 404-679-7291
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on September 9, 2009, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved the expenditure of nearly $8 million in Federal Duck Stamp funds to add more than 4,000 wetland acres to seven units of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Commission also approved $33.4 million in federal funding to conserve more than 190,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitat in the United States under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
Seven NAWCA grant projects have been approved for the Southeast Region – one each in Florida and Mississippi, three in Louisiana, and two in South Carolina.
“The needs of waterfowl and wetland-dependent wildlife are no less great during these challenging economic times,” said Salazar. “The efficiency and effectiveness of our wetland conservation system – thanks in large part to North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants, the Federal Duck Stamp and the National Wildlife Refuge System – are especially important in meeting these needs.”
Wetlands provide many ecological, economic, and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife, and a variety of plants. They serve as nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Wetlands also hold and slowly release flood waters, act as filters to cleanse water of impurities, and provide recreational and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people.
The Commission includes Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Representatives John Dingell of Michigan and Robert Wittman of Virginia, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, as well as state representatives as ex officio members who vote on projects located within their respective states.
The grants approved today will support 34 projects in 24 states under NAWCA’s U.S. Standard Grants Program. Partners in these projects will contribute an additional $89.3 million in matching funds to support these conservation efforts. Grants are funded by annual Congressional appropriations; fines, penalties and forfeitures levied under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; interest accrued on funds under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act; and excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Fund.
Passed in 1989, NAWCA provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Act was passed in part to support activities under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement that provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated upland habitats needed by waterfowl and other migratory birds in North America.
Several NAWCA grant projects were approved on September 9, 2009, for the Southeast.
More information about NAWCA grant programs and the NAWCA projects approved September 9, 2009, is available on the Web at: http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/grants/NAWCA/index.shtm
Florida’s Ecological Greenway Network: Grant: $1,000,000. Matching Funds: $2,150,500. For two decades, federal, state, regional, and local governments and non-profit conservation organizations in north-central Florida have worked toward the goal of saving the remaining wilderness in Florida's Ecological Greenway Network. The parcel to be acquired in Phase IV is the last large in-holding remaining along Prairie Creek, the main tributary to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Migratory sandhill cranes visit the prairie basin and surrounding upland habitats each winter, while several hundred non-migratory Florida sandhill cranes use the area year-round.
Flying J Ranch Conservation Project: Grant: $1,000,000. Matching Funds: $2,025,000. This project will acquire a conservation easement over habitat adjacent to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area, originally donated by BP America Production White Lake. This parcel is currently owned, farmed, and leased for recreational uses. It fits within a larger conservation area and provides important habitat to significant numbers of waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds and other resident and migratory bird species.
Gulf Coast Joint Venture Chenier Plain Initiative Area of southwest Louisiana: Grant: $1,000,000. Matching Funds: $2,068,823. Wetland restoration associated with this project will help ensure these coastal areas continue to fulfill their historic role as one of the most important wintering and migration habitats in North America for continental populations of waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds and other migratory birds.
Pointe-aux-Chenes – Grand Bayou Project in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes: Grant: $1,000,000. Matching Funds: $2,545,817. Intertidal vegetated wetlands will be restored on three tracts. The project area contains migration and wintering habitat for northern pintail, lesser and greater scaup, and mallard; year-round habitat for the mottled duck; and migration and wintering habitat for American wigeon, wood duck, redhead, canvasback and ring-necked duck.
Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex Wetlands Restoration and Enhancement: Grant: $921,209. Matching Funds: $2,488,502. Non-matching/Other Federal Funds: $2,200,000. This project will continue to protect, restore and enhance important wetland habitats in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, with a focus on public and private lands within the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
- South Carolina:
South Carolina Lowcountry Wetlands Initiative in Georgetown, Charleston, and Beaufort Counties: Grant: $1,000,000. Matching Funds: $3,243,798. Non-matching/Other Federal Funds: $69,920. This project supports the goals and objectives of the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture’s South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative within South Carolina through a mix of wetlands protection and enhancement projects. The four projects within this larger effort will protect and enhance important wetlands, associated upland and riparian habitats along the Waccamaw River on private land and enhance managed wetlands in two state wildlife management areas, a private easement, and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge.
Winyah Bay Protection Project in Dillon, Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Williamsburg Counties: Grant: $1,000,000. Matching Funds: $14,304,022.
Non-matching/Other Federal Funds: $7,696. The project’s second phase protects five tracts, including wetlands and associated uplands to benefit breeding, migrating, and wintering birds. In this project, grant funds will be used to support the acquisition of one tract in the Black River watershed. This tract is strategically located along the Black River corridor and would serve to connect privately protected land within that watershed.
The Commission also approved the purchase of wetlands that will be added to seven units of the National Wildlife Refuge System to secure breeding, resting, and feeding habitat. These acquisitions include:
- Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area, Kern and Tulare Counties, California – Acquisition of 1,042 acres of easement to protect wetlands and uplands to stop the gradual erosion of habitat and to support Central Valley and Pacific Flyway waterfowl populations.
- Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Dorchester County, Maryland – Acquisition of 823 acres to preserve marsh, shoreline, wooded swamp and forested upland habitat for migratory waterfowl.
- Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Kent County, Delaware – Acquisition of 273 acres to promote and enhance habitat for a diversity of waterfowl, particularly American black ducks.
- Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, Pondicherry and Mohawk River Divisions, Coos County, New Hampshire – Acquisition of 761 acres to preserve and protect important migratory waterfowl and provide feeding, nesting, and resting habitat.
- Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Box Elder County, Utah – Acquisition of 700 acres to allow for more efficient use of water resources on adjacent refuge lands which are critical for managing wetland habitat for migratory waterfowl.
- Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Coos County, New Hampshire and Oxford County, Maine – Acquisition of 430 acres of old river channels, oxbow ponds, marsh backwaters and bordering shrub to provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat for migratory waterfowl.
- Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge, Flathead County, Montana – Renewal of the lease of 240 acres from the State of Montana for the protection and management of wetland and riparian habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
These acquisitions are funded with the proceeds from sales of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, otherwise known as the Federal Duck Stamp. The stamp features the winner of the annual Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. This year’s Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest – the nation’s only federally sponsored annual art competition – will be held October 16 and 17, at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Md., 25 miles north of Washington, D.C. The winning art will be made into the 2010-2011 Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $15.
Additional information about the history on the ongoing efforts to conserve North America’s wetlands and waterfowl can be found at Flyways.us. The website provides waterfowl enthusiasts, biologists and agency administrators with the most up-to-date waterfowl habitat and waterfowl population information.