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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


May 30, 2003

Contacts: Diane Katzenberger 303-236-7917 ext 408


Two landowner initiatives in Kansas have been awarded grant money under the Private Stewardship Grants Program by the Department of Interior’s U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to undertake conservation projects on private lands to benefit endangered, threatened, and other at-risk species.

The Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation, a rancher-led initiative, has been awarded $100,000. This grant money will be used to enhance mixed-grass and prairie stream habitat for species at-risk such as the black-tailed prairie dog and lesser prairie chicken as well as species federally-listed under the Endangered Species Act such as the Arkansas River shiner and Arkansas darter. Participating ranchers will draw from a variety of resource management tools including altered grazing management, prescribed burning, cutting of invasive woody species and stream restoration to improve habitat for targeted prairie species.

The Tallgrass Legacy Alliance will also receive $100,000 to restore 35,000 acres of tallgrass prairie and stream habitat. The 35 at-risk species that will benefit from this project include the federally- listed Topeka shiner, Neosho madtom, American burying beetle and Mead’s milkweed.

"Both these projects draw upon multiple resources and strong partnerships to cultivate cooperation among landowners," said Ralph Morgenweck, the Service’s Director of the Mountain-Prairie Region. "They illustrate how an effective long-term approach and commitment to the conservation of prairie species can co-exist with profitable ranching."

The Private Stewardship Grants Program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit federally listed endangered or threatened species, candidate species or other at-risk species. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working with private landowners are able to submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts.

Under the new Private Stewardship Grant program envisioned by President Bush when he was still Texas governor, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced 113 grants totaling more than $9.4 million to individuals and groups to undertake conservation projects on private lands in 43 states for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species. President Bush has requested funding of $10 million for this program in 2004.

President Bush originally proposed the creation of the Private Stewardship Grant program during a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in June 2000. The grants announced today, the first ever awarded under the program, will benefit species ranging from the whooping crane in Nebraska to the bald eagle in the state of Washington. Each grant must be matched by at least 10 percent of the total project cost either in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.

"Conservation, and especially the conservation of imperiled species, must be a partnership between the American people and their government," said Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton. "By making these grants, we are empowering citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps to protect and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species."

"Judging from the number of truly innovative grant proposals we reviewed, landowners across the U.S. are eager to work with us to conserve at-risk species," said Service Director Steve Williams. "We anticipate this public/private partnership will result in significant conservation achievements for wildlife and wildlife habitat."

For a complete list of Private Partnership Stewardship grant awards, please visit:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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