Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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This year, Minnesota and Wisconsin will receive grant funding for habitat restoration in the Driftless Area. Great River Bluffs Park in Minnesota, is part of this unique ecological landscape. Photo by Mike Sweet/USFWS.

This year, Minnesota and Wisconsin will receive grant funding for habitat restoration in the Driftless Area. Great River Bluffs Park in Minnesota, is part of this unique ecological landscape. Photo by Mike Sweet/USFWS.

Service Provides More Than 2 Million in Grants to Help Conserve
Pollinators, Mussels and other At-Risk Species to Midwest States

Bumblebees, mussels and Karner blue butterflies are among imperiled species in the Midwest that will benefit from more than $2 million in grants through the Service’s Competitive State Wildlife Grants program. Midwest Region grant recipients include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin and will receive a total of 6 grants.

The Competitive State Wildlife Grant Program grants focus on large-scale conservation projects to conserve and recover Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats. The Service awarded 15 grants, a total of $5.7 million to states across the country. This will be matched by more than $2.9 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners.

This year, the Service encouraged state applicants to design projects to benefit pollinators, as well as other at-risk species. Successful applicants include the Michigan Department of Natural Resources who plans to gather native bee diversity data to better assess their conservation status in the state; Ohio and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources, who will restore oak savannah to benefit the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly; and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who will gather mussel distribution data to fill an invertebrate species information gap and better inform their State Wildlife Action Plan. This is a just a snapshot of the diverse wildlife projects happening in the Midwest; below is the complete list of projects receiving funding this year.

State Wildlife Grant-funded projects are identified in State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline the actions needed to conserve them over the long term.

Learn more about State Wildlife Grants Projects in the Midwest Region:

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Title: Habitat Improvement Projects for Stream and Oxbow Fish

States: Iowa, Minnesota

Goals and Objectives: Iowa and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources propose habitat restoration and connectivity for many stream fish of greatest conservation need in their State Wildlife Action Plans, including Topeka shiners and plains topminnows. Partnering states will first inventory and analyze known locations of these species to spatially prioritize on-the-ground conservation actions. At least 50 acres of stream habitat will be acquired and permanently protected. The states plan to analyze the effectiveness of restoration activities by monitoring at least 20 sites, so that future conservation actions for these fish species will build the current approach using adaptive restoration management.

Federal Funds Requested: $469,614; Non-Federal Match: $240,902

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Title: Assessing Native Bee Diversity, Distribution, and Status

State: Michigan

Goals and Objectives: Pollinators are an ecologically important group of organisms that were not addressed in Michigan’s original 2006 Wildlife Action Plan. In recent efforts to develop preliminary focal areas for Michigan’s species of greatest conservation need, bumble bees were identified as a species of need. Since little to no bee data has been analyzed in Michigan, this project will assess historic and current native bee diversity, distribution and status using museum research and field surveys. Using this data, the agency will identify natural community associations for targeted native bumble bees which will inform conservation decision making and enhance the next revision of Michigan’s wildlife action plan.

Federal Funds Requested: $100,000; Non-Fed Match: $53,500

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Title: Oak Savanna Restoration and Monitoring for Karner Blue Butterfly Population Recovery

States: Michigan, Ohio

Goals and Objectives: Michigan and Ohio Departments of Natural Resources will restore and enhance at least 800 acres of oak savanna to benefit the Federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly in partnership with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Partners will control invasive species, implement prescribed fire, and assist private landowners in the development of habitat management plans for the butterfly and other local species of greatest conservation need. To evaluate the effectiveness of the restoration, an occupancy-based Karner blue butterfly survey will be conducted to evaluate this project’s impacts on butterfly populations in the project areas.

Federal Funds Requested: $500,000; Non-Fed Match: $175,676

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Title: A Collaborative Conservation Strategy for the Driftless Area

States: Minnesota, Wisconsin

Goals and Objectives: Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources will partner to focus a variety of conservation actions on critical geographies in the Driftless Area as identified in their Wildlife Action Plans. The project has special emphasis on habitat for butterflies, moths, and other invertebrates. The states will partner with the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture to conserve priority habitat. Goals of the project include habitat restoration on 1500 acres of public and private lands, development of 50 management plans for private landowners, and monitoring the impacts of management actions on select species.

Federal Funds Requested: $500,000; Non-Fed Match: $350,034

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Title: Barrens Restoration for the Karner Blue Butterfly

States: Wisconsin, Minnesota

Goals and Objectives: In 1992, the Karner blue butterfly was listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Populations of this pollinator are believed to have declined by as much as 80 percent in the Upper Midwest and are considered extirpated in Minnesota. As described in the Minnesota and Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plans, the partnering states propose to enhance and expand existing Karner recovery sites, restore previously occupied barrens habitat, and use modeling techniques to map sites for future management which may help improve resilience of this species to climate change. The partners will also conduct post-project monitoring for three to five years post-restoration to assess the butterfly’s response to conservation efforts.

Federal Funds Requested: $500,000; Non-Federal Match: $166,653

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Title: Mapping Freshwater Mussel Distribution and Habitat Needs

State: Wisconsin

Goals and Objectives: Little or no distribution data exists for most invertebrate species of greatest conservation need; therefore, many Wildlife Action Plans lack substantial data and planning for many of these species. Freshwater mussels are an example of which more information is needed to inform conservation and management decisions. Wisconsin plans to address this by identifying at least one priority mussel location with high biodiversity for each ecological landscape within the state. Data will be collected and analyzed to develop mussel distribution maps so that these water quality indicator species and their habitats can be appropriately represented in the State Wildlife Action Plan.

Federal Funds Requested: $100,000; Non-Federal Match: $33,333

The State Wildlife Grant Program depends upon strong partnerships between the states and the Service, and the common goal to conserve at-risk species. “We appreciate the strong ties formed by state agencies and their partners to protect these imperiled wildlife species and their habitats,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “The State Wildlife Grants program is a catalyst for collaborative conservation, and we look forward to continued partnership success for the future of America’s wildlife.”

For more information on the State Wildlife Grant program, visit: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SWG/SWG.htm

By Joanna Gilkeson
Regional Office -- External Affairs

Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin will receive grant funding to restore habitat to conserve and help protect the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Photo by Joel Trick/USFWS.

Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin will receive grant funding to restore habitat to conserve and help protect the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Photo by Joel Trick/USFWS.

Michigan is receiving grant funding to research the conservation status of native bees, including this sweat bee which was found at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in the U.P. Photo courtesy of photographer Brooke Alexander/USGS.

Michigan is receiving grant funding to research the conservation status of native bees, including this sweat bee which was found at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in the U.P. Photo courtesy of Brooke Alexander/USGS.

 

Last updated: June 8, 2020