August 17, 2012
Wildlife crossings are just one of the many conservation strategies that may be afforded as a result of the specified HCP grant assistance programs. (Photo by USFWS)
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced nearly $33 million in grants to 21 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.
Three of those grants totaling approximately $1.2 million, will support wildlife conservation efforts in Florida. They are:
- Statewide Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for Florida Beaches (35 Coastal Counties Statewide, FL) $766,014. This grant will assist in the sixth year of this HCP planning effort. Stakeholders plan to assimilate acquired data into a detailed draft of the HCP and activities in the coastal area and their threats to listed species will be analyzed. The goal of the HCP is to allow for ongoing beach structure protection measures while limiting and mitigating adverse effects to the nesting of the federally-listed loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, leatherback, green, and hawksbill sea turtles, five beach mouse subspecies, and shorebirds, including wintering piping plover. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is leading this effort in conjunction with builders groups, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
- Highlands County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Highlands County, FL) $300,250. This grant will assist in initiating the planning effort for a county-wide HCP for scrub habitats, the Florida scrub-jay, eastern indigo snake, sand skink, blue-tailed mole skink, and other dry scrub species. Implementation of an HCP in Highlands County marks a significant step forward for scrub conservation in the heart of Florida's central ridge and will enhance conservation efforts in neighboring counties.
- East Collier County Multiple-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Collier County, FL) $149, 949. This grant will assist in concluding the planning efforts for the first area-wide HCP to cover the Florida panther. Expected results include the production of a draft HCP and an environmental impact statement. Implementation of this HCP will provide the first such conservation plan in the panther's primary recovery zone. The plan represents the collaborative effort among many private stakeholders with ranching, development, and conservation interests.
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landownder and the Service. These agreements allow a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property, even if they may impact listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county of state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.
"These HCP grants will enhance the opportunities for communities and land owners to work with us in advance to identify ways to streamline permitting processes, save money and most importantly minimize negative impacts to imperiled wildlife resources. They'll also help develop big-picture, landscape scale conservation strategies," said Trish Adams, HCP Coordinator for the South Florida Ecological Services Office Here.
"Our partnerships with states, landowners and local communities are the key to the successful protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species, and these grants will fund important conservation work," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, these competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
Ensuring the survival of the imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "The vital funding provided by these grants is matched by the states and leveraged to great advantage in helping conserve and recover some of the most imperiled wildlife in the country."
This year, the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund provides approximately $9.5 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, $15 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and $8.5 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help advance creative partnerships for imperiled species conservation recovery.
A complete list of the 2012 grant awards under these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615) is available online at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.
Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisition that complements the conservation objectives of approved HCPs.
The HCP Planning Assistance Grants Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of HCPs through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach and similar planning activities.
The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. Habitat acquisition to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.
The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America's native fish, wildlife, and plants. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.