FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Katie Steiger-Meister, 612-713-5317, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Butcher, 413-253-8339, email@example.com
May 22, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces $850,000 for wetlands and wildlife habitat under Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius, and Northeast Regional Director, Wendi Weber, jointly announced today the approval of more than $850,000 for grants aimed at protecting, restoring, and/or enhancing 621 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat in Michigan, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), Joint Venture Habitat Protection and Restoration Program.
Ducks Unlimited was granted $283,128 for the Allegan State Game Area Wetland Restoration Project that will restore and enhance 150 acres of emergent and scrub-shrub wetlands on the Allegan State Game Area, one of the largest contiguous wetland complexes in mid-Michigan. The area supports at least 30 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, as defined by Michigan’s State Wildlife Action Plan, and is also one of the most heavily utilized waterfowl hunting areas in western Michigan. Project activities will enable site managers to better manage water levels more efficiently and productively, and will also help to prevent invasive species such as Phragmites and reed canary grass from gaining a foothold in this key wetland complex.
Ducks Unlimited was granted $144,584 for the St. Lawrence Valley Habitat Protection and Enhancement Project that will permanently protect 60 acres of privately owned land through acquisition of a conservation easement, and enhance 152 acres of grassland habitat owned by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and 30 acres of grassland habitat owned by Thousand Island Land Trust (TILT). The enhancement efforts will include mowing 44.8 acres and seeding 104.3 acres of grassland habitat at Ashland Wildlife Management Area (WMA), herbicide control of the invasive pale swallow-wort on 1.5 acres at Point Peninsula WMA and 1.0 acre at Perch River WMA, and seeding 30 acres of grassland owned by TILT at Zenda Meadows, Clayton, NY. The project is located within the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture’s St. Lawrence Plain Focus Area, a region that includes a mosaic of diverse habitat types including wetlands that support a variety of waterfowl, and abandoned fields and grasslands that support numerous declining bird species. Approximately 20 percent of the global population of bobolinks nest within the St. Lawrence Focus Area, and the grasslands that will be restored through this project will provide suitable breeding habitat for this declining species along with Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, northern harrier, and upland sandpiper.
The Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District was granted $141,000 for the Maumee Area of Concern Wetland Project that will restore and enhance 129 acres of wetlands in Ottawa and Lucas counties in Ohio. Project activities will support the replacement of dilapidated wetland management infrastructure on a key privately-owned wetland complex that supports thousands of migrating waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds, and will also facilitate the restoration of a wetland basin that was previously drained over a century ago for agricultural purposes. In addition to providing benefits to priority birds and wetland wildlife and plants, this area is also located within the Maumee Area of Concern, one of 26 such areas in the United States that have been identified as focal areas for remediation due to severe degradation of aquatic habitats.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was granted $289,275 for the Roderick Wildlife Reserve Expansion: Protection of Lake Erie Shoreline, Coastal Wetlands and Priority Migratory Bird Habitat (PHASE III) Project. For this Phase III project, WPC will partner with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to acquire and protect approximately 100 acres of land for inclusion in the Roderick Wildlife Reserve/State Game Lands #314 located in Springfield Township, Erie County. With this additional grant funding, WPC is building on their highly successful Phases I and II projects, funded previously by the GLRI-Joint Venture Habitat Protection and Restoration Program, that protected more than 277 acres of critical habitat along the Lake Erie Shoreline. Once this third phase is completed, the project will have permanently protected 377 acres of important breeding, roosting and migration stopover habitat for coastal-dependent and migratory birds along the Lake Erie shoreline. The project site falls within a Pennsylvania Important Bird Area designated by the National Audubon Society and the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain Bird Conservation Region (BCR 13) designated by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. Acquisition of an additional 100 acres will connect and expand already protected areas and add substantial habitat value for waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds and land birds alike.
The grants were awarded under the Great Lakes Watershed Habitat and Species Restoration Initiative Grants Programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Department of the Interior agency. The grants were funded by the President’s 2012 Budget which provided $300 million for the Environmental Protection Agency –led, interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. A portion of those funds were provided to the Upper Mississippi/Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast Joint Ventures for priority bird habitat conservation projects.
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.
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