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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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August 11, 2005

Contact:    Patricia  Fisher (202) 208-5634


Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced grants totaling more than $5.7million to private landowners and groups in 38 states and one territory to undertake conservation projects on their land for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species thanks to the Administration’s Private Stewardship Grants Program.  The new grants will benefit species ranging from the Chiricahua leopard frog in New Mexico to swift fox in South Dakota 

“The Private Stewardship Grants Program encourages citizens to take conservation into their own hands by providing incentives for and flexibility in the development of on-the-ground solutions for the conservation of locally imperiled species,” Norton said. “This seed money supports the growing partnership between Americans and the federal government as we work together to find better and more cost-effective ways to conserve at-risk species found on private lands.” 

Administered by the Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, each of the 72 grants awarded today require at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.

Now in its third year, 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 submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts. 

The Administration has requested funding of $10 million for this program in 2006; last year, 97 grants totaling more than $7 million were awarded to private individuals and groups in 39 states. In the first two years of the program, 210 grants totaling more than $16 million were awarded to private landowners across the country. 

 “Private Stewardship grants continue to provide support to private landowners who have made voluntary commitments to conserve species on their land,” said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan.

 Following the recent rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas, Secretary Norton set aside $800,000 from the fiscal year 2005 Private Stewardship Grants Program to fund a separate “call for proposals” for projects specifically designed to benefit that species’ conservation.  The Service will soon announce the availability of this grant money through

 Examples of the Private Stewardship Grant projects selected for funding in 2005 include:


Private Lands Habitat Enhancement for Grassland Species at Risk – (application by Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) – Kiowa, Cheyenne, Las Animas, Bent, El Paso, Prowers, Baca, and Lincoln Counties, Colorado – ($128,897) – The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, working with Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Mayor of Town of Eads, and Kiowa County Economic Development Foundation, will, through six individual projects,  restore shortgrass prairie rangelands to benefit grassland and riparian species at risk, principally declining grassland birds such as lesser prairie-chicken, mountain plover and long-billed curlew.  The six projects vary in the type of management proposed and include reseeding cropland to native prairie, playa restoration, and altering livestock grazing management.


High Plans Partnership for Prairie Species at Risk – (application by Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation) – Barber County, Kansas – ($32,500) – Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation, in cooperation with the local Conservation District, Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation District, and four private landowners, will continue a rancher-led initiative that has a proven record of success in enhancing mixed-grass habitat for species at risk, particularly the lesser prairie-chicken.  Participating ranchers will draw from a variety of resource management tools including altered grazing management, prescribed burning, and cutting of invasive woody species to improve habitat for targeted prairie species including the lesser prairie-chicken, black-tailed prairie dog, and ferruginous hawk.


Coexisting with Grizzly Bears in an Agricultural Landscape – (application by The Blackfoot Challenge) – Lincoln, Helmville, Ovando, Potomac, Lewis & Clark, Powell, and Missoula Counties, Montana – ($99,500) – The Blackfoot Challenge, in cooperation with Browning Ferris Industries, Defenders of Wildlife, Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, a local honey producer, and 45 private landowners, will provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners in the Blackfoot watershed to reduce grizzly bear conflicts with the local ranching community, by such actions as temporarily fencing calving areas.


Central Platte Valley Native Grassland & River Channel Restoration – (application by Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc.) – Buffalo, Merrick, Hall, and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska – ($97,790) – In partnership with Platte River Trust, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Prairie/Plains Resource Institute, Central Platte Natural Resource District, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Nebraska Public Power District, and 100 private landowners, the grantee will restore habitat for the endangered whooping crane on the Platte River, principally though removal of trees from sandbars and seeding with native grasses. 

South Dakota 

Restoration of Swift Fox to Bad River Ranches – (application by Turner Endangered Species Fund) – Stanley and Jones Counties, South Dakota – ($90,000) – The Turner Endangered Species Fund , working with South Dakota Game Fish & Parks, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, South Dakota Animal Husbandry Industry Board, South Dakota agriculture producers groups, Badlands National Park, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, and Fort Pierre National Grasslands, will continue its work to re-establish a self-sustaining population of swift fox to a prairie ranch as part of a large prairie restoration program.  The burrows to be created for the swift fox will also provide habitat for black-tailed prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets. 


Autumn Buttercup Reintroduction in Sevier River Valley – (application by The Nature Conservancy) – Garfield County, Utah – ($18,661) – The Nature Conservancy, working with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, The Arboretum at Flagstaff, and Utah Valley State College, will help to prevent extinction of the endangered autumn buttercup by re-introducing plants grown in captivity through a public-private partnership. 

The full list of projects selected for funding under the Private Stewardship Grants Program may be accessed at  The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this grant program is 15-632.

 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 545 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 and Native American Tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance 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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