August 14, 2015
State Endangered Species Conservation Efforts Receive $37.2 Million Boost Through Service Grants
Grants include funding to four Midwest states to help collaborative efforts to conserve America’s most imperiled species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding $37.2 million in grants to 20 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered species across the nation. Among the states receiving funds are Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species, ranging from the coastal California gnatcatcher to the Karner blue butterfly. For a complete list of the 2015 grant awards, see www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.
“Private landowners and natural resource managers play a vital role in conserving our nation’s most imperiled wildlife,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “By cultivating partnerships between federal, state and local governments, private organizations and individuals, we can establish creative and effective solutions to some of the greatest conservation challenges of our time. These grants are one of many tools available under the Endangered Species Act, and we look forward to providing continued guidance and support for these programs.”
Authorized under 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 or protect habitat for the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
Funding is provided through three programs that advance creative partnerships for the recovery of imperiled species: the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program.
The Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of habitat conservation plans. HCPs are agreements between the Service and private landowners, states or counties that allow certain activities to take place that may impact one or more ESA-listed species. In return, landowners agree to conservation measures designed to avoid, minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions.
This year, the program will allocate approximately $4.7 million in grants. In the Midwest, $562,500 will go to Iowa, in partnership with MidAmerican Energy, to develop a multi-species HCP for 19 wind power facilities in the state, covering the endangered Indiana bat and the threatened northern long-eared bat. A multi-state grant totaling $487, 350, awarded to Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, will enable the continued development of the multi-species HCP and ongoing studies to guide forest management practices and bat conservation in the Midwest. Covered species include the endangered Indiana bat, the threatened northern long-eared bat, the little brown bat and the tri-colored bat.
Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisitions that complement the conservation objectives of approved HCPs.
Nearly $20.3 million will be allocated under this program in 2015. In Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources will use $42,926 in grant funds to acquire 18.32 acres in Newaygo County to support endangered Karner blue butterflies. And in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will receive $122,500 to acquire 10 acres of land in Dane County to aid in the recovery of the threatened prairie bush clover, which occurs in remnants of native tallgrass prairie and is endemic to four Midwestern states.
The grants are funded in part by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established by Congress in 1964. The fund promotes access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and provides money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. For the past 50 years, the fund has supported more than 40,000 conservation and outdoor recreation projects nationwide. Without action from Congress, authorization for the program will expire in September. President Obama has proposed to fully and permanently fund the program.
The ESA 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 Ecological Services Program, visit 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.
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