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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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 May 15, 2007  

Contact: Valerie Fellows 202.208.5634
                Diane Katzenberger 303.236.4578


Nebraska Projects Awarded Grants 

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today announced grants totaling more than $7.2 million will go to private landowners and groups in 36 states for conservation projects to benefit endangered, threatened and other at-risk species through the Private Stewardship Grants Program.  This year’s grants will benefit native species ranging from the Santa Catalina Island fox in California to the Nashville crayfish in Tennessee. 

“Our conservation goals for fish and wildlife can only be achieved with the help of private citizens and landowners,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “These grants are one of the most important tools we have to protect this country’s threatened and endangered species.” 

Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), each of the 80 grants requires at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.  

Now in its fifth 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.   

Last year, 80 grants totaling $6.9 million were awarded to private individuals and groups in 35 states. In the first four years of the program, 362 grants totaling approximately $29 million were awarded to private landowners across the country. 

“We are seeing tremendous benefits to wildlife by partnering with private landowners,” said H. Dale Hall, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Each year, these private stewardship grants pay dividends in the effort to preserve imperiled species and their habitats. It is heartening to see how much progress we can make when we work together.” 

The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory will receive $73,736 to work with two ranchers in eastern Colorado to restore riparian habitat by fencing livestock out, providing alternative watering sources, and  restoring shortgrass prairie by seeding with native grasses.  In Nebraska, they will restore three playas that are currently in cultivation.  These restoration projects will benefit numerous bird and fish species, including scaled quail, lark bunting and Arkansas darter. 

The Northern Prairies Land Trust will receive $94,462 for restoration and enhancement of tallgrass prairies in Kansas and Nebraska (Jefferson and Thayer Counties, Kansas; Washington and Republic Counties, Nebraska).  The project will improve tallgrass prairie habitat for the endangered American burying beetle, the threatened western prairie fringed orchid, and numerous grassland bird species.  The project involves clearing invasive woody vegetation from native prairie, enabling prescribed burning, and implementing planned grazing systems.

The Platte River Whooping Crane Trust receive $103,510 to will work with numerous partners and 11 participating landowners to restore wetland habitat along the Platte River in central Nebraska for migrating endangered whooping cranes and other Federally-listed and declining birds that breed there, including piping plover and least tern.  Habitat restoration projects include invasive tree removal, wetland slough construction and maintenance of open water habitat in the main river channel. 

The National Audubon Society will receive $75,000 for a Central Platte River channel restoration project in Buffalo and Dawson Counties, Nebraska.  This project is designed to increase open channel roosting habitat for the endangered whooping crane, as well as open channel breeding and foraging habitat for the Federally-listed least tern and piping plover and several State-listed fish.  The National Audubon Society will remove stands of the invasive weed, common reed, which has expanded its occupation of the area in recent years. 

Hartman Farms will receive $40,000 to restore native prairie habitat in Greeley County for declining grassland birds and other wildlife by removing invasive eastern red cedar, implementing a grassland management plan and improving fencing to control livestock grazing. Species that will benefit include Bell’s vireo, greater prairie-chicken, short-eared owl and burrowing owl. 

Quail Forever will receive $75,000 to work with nine ranchers in western Nebraska (Dawson, Frontier and Lincoln Counties) to remove invasive red cedar from native prairie to enhance habitat for grassland species of concern.  Species that will benefit over this large project area include the endangered American burying beetle, as well as Bell’s vireo, short-eared owl and regal fritillary.  

The Sandhills Task Force will receive $44,520 to work with ranchers in the sandhills of Nebraska, a unique landscape, to improve the native grasslands.  Invasive eastern red cedar will be removed and grazing management altered to improve habitat for long-billed curlew, short-eared owl and the threatened western prairie fringed orchid. 

Other examples of the Private Stewardship Grant projects selected for funding in 2007 include the following: 


Pine Ecosystem Restoration ($150,000) - This project, submitted by the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation, American Forest Foundation and Environmental Defense, will improve habitat for declining species dependent on fire-maintained southern pine communities in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  This grant will build on earlier successful projects that resulted in the restoration of 3,335 acres on 24 sites. Restoration activities, including planting longleaf pine, will be performed on 1,088 acres of family forest properties.  The threatened gopher tortoise, endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, and the black pine snake and ten other species of concern will benefit from this project.   


Little Campbell Creek: “It's a Creek, not a Ditch” ($33,600) – The Anchorage Waterways Council submitted this proposal to work with local residents living adjacent to Little Campbell Creek. The grant will help rehabilitate degraded riparian buffers and restore healthy fish habitat. A creekside stewardship program will be developed to target willing land owners and promote a positive stewardship ethic.  The project will provide technical expertise, materials and volunteer labor to assist landowners in modifying their land use practices or physical features of their property to enhance protection of the creek and restore vital fish habitat.  Species of concern that will benefit include the chinook, coho and sockeye salmon, the Cook Inlet population of beluga whale; rusty blackbird; and a mayfly species found only in Alaska.  


Mattole River Eastern Sub-basin Aquatic Habitat Restoration Project ($95,000) – This project, submitted by the Mattole Restoration Council, will replace three undersized culverts on private lands near Wolf, Buck, and Deer Lick creeks in northern California to allow for full fish passage and reduction of sediment loads into the creeks. The project will benefit three federally threatened fish:  Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead.  It will also benefit rare species such as Pacific lamprey, foothill yellow-legged frog, northern red-legged frog, tailed frog, and southern torrent salamander. 


Reforestation and Wetland Restoration for Permanent Native Habitat in St. Joseph River Watershed ($45,000) – The St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative Partnership will protect, restore and enhance wetland and forest habitat in the St. Joseph River watershed in Hillsdale County, Michigan; Defiance and Williams counties, Ohio; and Allen, Dekalb, and Noble counties, Indiana. The project will benefit the Copperbelly water snake, Indiana bat, clubshell, white cat's pearlymussel, Northern riffleshell, and the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, as well as 5 other at-risk species.  The initiative has identified at least 14 landowners where nearly 140 acres of reforestation will occur to connect wetland corridor habitat for these species. 


Protection, Management, and Monitoring Cave Habitat for the Ozark Big-eared Bat ($9,000) – Rogers State University  initiated this project which will provide specific management for protection of the Ozark big-eared bat and other rare cave fauna at a single cave in Adair County, Oklahoma; implement management and protection at one of three potential caves in Adair County, Oklahoma and monitor the cave, gate/grill system and bat populations to evaluate continued occupancy by the Ozark big-eared bat.



Enhancing Habitat in a Priority Stream ($21,500) – This grant will assist the landowner with a riparian restoration project along Copper Creek, in the Clinch River watershed in Scott County, Virginia.  The goal of the restoration project is to improve stream quality and restore habitat for two endangered species, the purple bean and yellowfin madtom, as well as indirectly benefit several other listed species.  The area being protected includes approximately 5,000 feet of stream bank and 9 acres of riparian area. The project application was submitted by Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District and a private landowner. 


Wolf Haven Prairie Restoration ($74,000) – The Nature Conservancy submitted the project which will restore high-quality prairie habitat in Thurston County, Washington.  Improved habitat quality will provide opportunities for the enhancement, colonization, or introduction of six at-risk animal species including Mazama pocket gopher, Mardon skipper, and Taylor’s checkerspot (all federal candidate speces).  In addition, the federally threatened golden paintbrush will be re-introduced at the site.  Golden paintbrush re-introduction will follow the guidelines outlined in the “Recovery Plan for Golden Paintbrush.” 


Auwahi III Dryland Forest Ecosystem Restoration ($280,500) – The objective of this project is the construction of an ungulate-proof fence protecting 190 acres of Auwahi forest on privately-owned ‘Ulupalakua Ranch in Maui County, Hawaii.  This project was submitted by the Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc. and builds on the success of previous Auwahi restoration projects by protecting one of the richest and most endangered of Hawaiian ecosystems.  The species which will benefit include the Blackburn’s sphinx moth and eight federally listed and two candidate plants.

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 547 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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