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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Lakewood, Colorado 80228



Office of the Secretary

CONTACT: Hugh Vickery

August 26, 2004


 Norton Announces $16 Million in Grants
to Conserve Imperiled Wildlife in 42 States

 DENVER, Colo. – Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced $16 million in cost-share conservation grants to private landowners and Native American tribes. The grants will support 150 projects to conserve threatened, endangered and at-risk species across the country. 

“President Bush has made working in voluntary partnership with states, local communities, tribes, private landowners and others the gold standard for our conservation efforts,” Norton said. “The grants we are announcing today meet that standard by empowering tribes and private citizens to do what the federal government cannot do alone – conserve habitat for imperiled species on private and tribal lands.”  

Norton announced the grants through three programs begun by President Bush – the Private Stewardship Grant program, the Tribal Landowner Incentive program, and the Tribal Wildlife Grant program.

The grants are being awarded in 42 states.  A state-by-state list is available at 

President Bush is expected to sign an executive order today that instructs federal departments and agencies such as the Interior Department to ensure that they carry out their statutory obligations in a “manner that promotes cooperative conservation, with an emphasis on appropriate inclusion of local participation in federal decision making.” 

Since the President took office, the Interior Department has awarded more than $1.3 billion in cooperative conservation grants to states, tribes, local governments, and private landowners through programs that restore habitat for wildlife, protect endangered species, conserve water resources, and remove noxious weeds.  

More than $2.4 million of the grants awarded today support private efforts to control invasive species, one of the most serious threats to many ecosystems and their wildlife 

Under the Private Stewardship Grant program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will award $7 million in grants to support 97 projects undertaken by private landowners and groups in 39 states. The new grants will benefit species ranging from the bog turtle in the eastern United States to the O’ahu ’elepaio, an endangered forest bird in Hawaii. The recipients of the grants must contribute at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.  

“This program is modeled on a successful program developed by President Bush when he was governor of Texas,” FWS director Steve Williams said. “Over the past two years, we have empowered landowners to undertake more than 200 projects that improve habitat for imperiled species on their property. The most effective conservation projects are those conceived and carried-out by the people who live and work on the land.” 

In Oregon, for example, the Service is awarding $53,000 to the McKenzie River Trust to restore 200 acres of oak woodlands, mixed conifer, and riparian forest habitats to benefit many species of wildlife including the Columbia white-tailed deer. In Louisiana, the Service is awarding $65,802 to the Black Bear Conservation Committee, to work with private landowners to improve habitat for the threatened Louisiana black bear. 

Under the Tribal Landowner Incentive program, the Service is awarding $3 million to federally-recognized Indian tribes to help fund 25 projects. Contributions from tribes and other partners raise the total value of these projects to $4.4 million.  

The grants were chosen through a competitive process to address protection, restoration and management of habitat to benefit at-risk species, including federally listed endangered or threatened species and proposed or candidate species. The maximum award under this program is $150,000 with a required minimum 25-percent match from non-federal funds. 

For example, in Arizona, the Service is awarding $99,583 to the San Carlos Apache Tribe to undertake genetic, habitat-use and population studies of the threatened Mexican spotted owl on tribal land. In New Mexico, the Pueblo of Isleta will receive $150,000 to help design and construct rearing habitat for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow and enhance habitat for the Southwestern willow flycatcher. 

Under the Tribal Wildlife Grant program, the Service is awarding $6 million to help fund 28 projects. Contributions from tribes and other partners increase the total value of these projects to $7.8 million. 

These grants are awarded to federally-recognized Indian tribes to benefit fish, wildlife and their habitat including non-game species. Although matching funds are not required for these grants, they are considered to be an indicator of a tribe’s commitment.  

For example, in Maine, the Service is awarding $105,869 to the Passamaquooddy Tribe to restore native sea-run fish such as alewife and American eel in Little River and Boyden Lake by improving fish passage at the Passamaquooddy Water District Dam. The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma will receive $250,000 to establish an eagle rehabilitation program on tribal lands. 

"The number of grant requests coming from Indian Country was truly amazing," Williams said.  "The requests far exceeded available funding.  Still, for the first time, we are gaining a solid understanding of tribal wildlife management priorities.  We hope this will make us better partners for tribes of all sizes that want to build capacity for wildlife management." 

The following grants were awarded in the eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region.  A complete state-by-state list of grant awards is available on the Service’s website:

Private Stewardship Grants:


Lasater Ranch Black-tailed Prairie Dog Project - (application by ROE Ecological Services, LLC) – Elbert County, Colorado - ($17,570) -  To establish a viable black-tailed prairie dog colony on native prairie within the historic range of the species, which in turn will provide nesting habitat for several avian species at risk that thrive on prairie dog colonies.   

            See Also Multi-State Proposals 


Tallgrass Legacy Alliance Integrated Approach to Managing Kansas Tallgrass Prairie - (application by Tallgrass Legacy Alliance) – Greenwood, Lyon, Chase, Marion, Morris, Dickenson, Geary, Wabaunsee, Potawatomie, Riley, Greenwood, Elk, Butler, and Chautauqua Counties, Kansas – ($130,000) - This project is an integrated approach toward containment and control of two invasive plant species in the Flint Hills of Kansas to benefit at-risk species, particularly declining grassland birds.  Management actions to be undertaken include rotational prescribed burning in autumn, spot spraying of herbicides and grazing management.   

Comanche Pool Prairie resource Foundation/High Plains Partnership – (application by Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation) - Barber, Clark, and Comanche Counties, Kansas – ($109,230) - To continue a rancher-led initiative that has a proven record of success in enhancing mixed-grass and prairie stream habitat for species at risk.  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 at risk. 


Bull Trout Habitat Restoration Project, East Fork Bull River, Montana – (application by a private individual) – Sanders County, Montana – ($40,828) - This Private Stewardship Grant will contribute significantly to the implementation of a comprehensive re-vegetation effort on a Montana river to establish healthy riparian habitat and in-stream conditions that will aid in the conservation of bull trout.  

Conservation of an Eastern Slope Native Fish in Montana: Establishment of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Cherry Creek, an Upper Missouri Basin Tributary – (application by Turner Enterprises, Inc.) – Madison County, Montana – ($31,300) -           To initiate a multi-year effort to establish and monitor a genetically pure, self-sustaining population of a native trout in a Montana watershed.  Once established, the population will serve as a donor population to re-establish the trout in other watersheds. 

Therriault Creek Meadows Stream and Wetland Restoration Project  - (application by Kootenai River Network, Inc.) – Lincoln County, Montana – ($50,000) – To conserve two native trout species through habitat improvements that will decrease sedimentation, re-water a drained wetland to serve as a nursery area for juvenile fish, and re-establish proper floodplain function.  These improvements will result in increased spawning and juvenile survivorship of both species and serve to further re-enforce a strong, locally-led watershed restoration partnership. 


Platte Valley Native Grassland Restoration and Enhancement Project – (application by Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc.) – Buffalo and Hall Counties, Nebraska – ($97,906) - To improve habitat for species at risk along a 60-mile reach of the Platte River, including adjacent native grasslands and associated wetlands in central Nebraska.  Management actions include removing woodlots, shrub thickets, and scattered trees from grasslands, and creating backwater sloughs and wetlands to benefit many species including whooping cranes, least terns, piping plovers, and bald eagles.  The sites will be monitored using satellite imagery and maintained for a minimum of 10 years. 

North Platte River Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Project – (application by Platte River Basin Environments, Inc.) - Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Garden, Keith, and Lincoln Counties, Nebraska – ($108,500) - To restore and enhance habitat for species at risk along the North Platte River in western Nebraska by removing invasive tree species from the river channel, islands and wet meadows; enhancing backwater sloughs; and creating wet meadows.   

Comprehensive Plan for Enhancement of the Hutton Niobrara Ranch as a Wildlife Sanctuary for At-Risk Species – (application by Audubon of Kansas, Inc.) – Rock County, Nebraska – ($88,470) – To initiate a conservation effort to restore prairie and wet meadow habitats vital to species at risk on a nature preserve in Nebraska.  Habitat management undertakings include planting a former cropland back to native prairie, controlling woody vegetation encroachment on existing prairie through cutting and prescribed burns, reintroduction of black-tailed prairie dogs to create habitat for numerous at-risk grassland birds, and altering haying and grazing in wet meadows.  

Kugler Platte River Wet Meadow and Grassland Restoration – (application by Kugler Farms, Inc.) – Dawson County, Nebraska – ($37,800) – To restore and enhance riverine habitat along the Platte River for waterfowl, sandhill cranes, whooping cranes, other migratory waterbirds, and fish and wildlife species by removing woody vegetation and maintaining the open habitats by tree removal.   

Sandhills Ecosystem Conservation Project – (application by Sandhills Task Force) - Wheeler, Garfield, Keith, and Brown Counties – ($39,010) – To work with individual landowners in the Nebraska Sandhills to implement conservation projects on their lands that benefit at-risk wildlife, including savannah sparrows, chestnut-collared longspurs, and short-eared owls.  Conservation projects to be implemented include using altered grazing management as a tool to improve the quality and diversity of the native grasslands and removing livestock access to streams and natural wetlands.  Habitat improvements will be monitored over a 10-year period, thereby strengthening communication and partnerships with the participating landowners.  

South Dakota 

Conata Basin Private Lands Partnership for Grasslands Species at Risk  - (application by Prairie Wildlife Research, Inc.) – Pennington County, South Dakota – ($80,000) – To restore and enhance native habitat for grassland species at risk on private lands using a variety of conservation strategies, including modifying grazing systems to encourage prairie dog expansion, controlling noxious weeds, and monitoring species populations to measure trends.  

Restoration of the Swift Fox to the Bad River Ranches and Environs in South Dakota – (application by Turner Endangered Species Fund) – Stanley and Jones Counties, South Dakota – ($45,000) – To contribute significantly to the re-establishment of a self-sustaining population of swift fox to a prairie ranch as part of a large prairie restoration program.  Through pilot re-establishment efforts, the applicant has demonstrated that this project will be a success.  Once a self-sustaining population is established and re-establishment techniques are optimized, the applicant intends to further conservation of the species by providing animals for re-establishment elsewhere in the northern Great Plains. 

            See Also Multi-State Proposals 


Utah Prairie Dog Habitat Restoration and Reintroduction in Southwestern Utah  - (application by Environmental Defense) – Iron County, Utah – ($56,590) – To improve forage quality and quantity on private lands through brush management and reseeding of native grasses and forbs.  Following these habitat improvements, the threatened Utah prairie dog will be introduced and maintained on the site.  This is a new conservation approach for this species, which until now has been largely protected solely on public lands.  Although the prairie dog is the conservation target for this project, several declining bird species are also expected to benefit. 


Trout Creek Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project – (application by East Yellowstone Chapter, Trout Unlimited) – Park County, Wyoming – ($17,632) – To contribute to growing and maintaining a viable population of native trout by removing the only fish barrier on this creek system, thereby allowing upstream migration of the fish.  Additionally, a fish screen will be installed on an irrigation diversion eliminating direct adult and juvenile losses while improving spawning in the creek. 

Multi-State Proposals 

Colorado and South Dakota 

Private Lands Habitat Enhancement for Grassland Species at Risk - (application by Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) – Bent, Lincoln, Weld, Las Animas and Pueblo Counties, Colorado and Custer County, South Dakota - ($114,675) – To restore shortgrass prairie rangelands to benefit grassland and riparian species at risk, principally declining grassland birds.  The six individual projects vary in the type of management proposed and include reseeding cropland to native prairie, invasive species removal, and altering livestock grazing management. 

Tribal Landowner Incentive Program Grants:  

North Dakota/South Dakota: 

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe of South and North Dakota will receive $149,519 for the Endangered Species Management Plan and Dakota Skipper Study.  This project will review historical and current information on Endangered/Threatened and Candidate Species and Species of Tribal Concern, develop baseline inventory techniques to determine their presence, identify habitat preferences, map critical habitat, determine use patterns (seasonal, year-round) for our Reservation. This information will be used to conduct surveys within the exterior reservation boundaries and use the results to formulate an Endangered Species database and Comprehensive Endangered Species Management Plan. 


The Shivwits Band of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah will receive $80,000 for Santa Clara River Restoration.  This project will provide the Shivwits Band an active leadership role in managing important natural resources, such as fish, wildlife, habitat, and water flows, on their Reservation.  The project will focus on monitoring fish populations, riparian and riverine habitat conditions, and management of water flows along the Santa Clara River within the Shivwits Band Reservation.  It will provide the Virgin River Recovery Program with recommendations on how to restore and protect Virgin spinedace and their habitat 


The Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Colorado will receive $126,005.95 for the Stollsteimer Creek Restoration Project.  This project will reclaim approximately 3,400 feet of severely eroded stream bank along the Stollsteimer Creek.  The stream bank will be replanted with native riparian vegetation, restoring habitat for wintering bald eagles, neo-tropical migratory birds, osprey, waterfowl, leopard frogs and many other wildlife species.  It will serve as a model project for adjacent landowners. 


The Blackfeet Nation of Montana will receive $120,000 for the Landowner Stream Restoration Program. The tribe will improve 2,778 feet of river habitat by constructing and restoring fish and wildlife habitat in the Two Medicine River drainage at three locations. 

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana had two successful TLIP project selected.  CSKT will receive $129.951 for the Acquisition of the Walhood Property.  The CSKT will purchase and restore a critical piece of property within the DuCharme Creek drainage to facilitate habitat restoration for westslope cutthroat trout.  Also, the CSKT will receive $17,697 for the Installation of Pipeline on the Morin Ditch.  The CSKT will restore native bull trout in the Jocko River watershed. by reducing the amount of water withdrawn from Valley Creek.  Benefits from the project include more suitable habitat conditions by lowering stream temperatures, and improving riparian condition, channel morphology, and spawning conditions. 

Tribal Wildlife Grants: 

South Dakota: 

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Dakota will receive $56,000 for the Wetland Restoration and Conservation Project.  This project will restore, enhance and protect wetlands for long-term production and migration benefits for waterfowl and other migratory birds.  The project will provide a stable water source for a 50-acre drought-prone wetland basin. This will be done by digging a well into the deep, free-flowing Sunburst aquifer and installing a water-control valve. 

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota will receive $248,600 for the Restoration of Black-footed ferrets to Rosebud Sioux Tribe Indian Reservation.  Restoration activities will include habitat evaluation and mapping, ferret releases and monitoring.  RST biologists will receive ferret handling and anesthesia training at the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center. 

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota will receive $240,498 for Protecting Wildlife habitat Through Riparian restoration and Noxious Weed Control.  This project will benefit wildlife and their habitat by protecting and enhancing the riparian areas within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. This will be accomplished through noxious weed identification, control and monitoring and through restoration and public outreach activities.  Among the project activities are survey 485 miles of shoreline within and adjacent to the Reservation for wildlife habitat improvements, monitor habitat treated areas through Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Systems, restore riparian areas through native and cultural plantings, and provide educational meetings and publications to inform the public of the impacts of noxious weeds, specifically on wildlife and their habitats. 


The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana will receive $41,516 for the Trumpeter Swan Powerline Collision Project.  This management-oriented project will provide the CSKT with necessary financial support to enhance trumpeter swan (Cvgnus buccinator) habitat on the Flathead Indian Reservation by installing protective devices on electrical transmission lines to prevent collisions with the lines by swans. 

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 544 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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