Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Nearly $5 Million in Grants to Help Imperiled Species

May 20, 2010


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that nearly $5 million in grants will be going to six state fish and wildlife agencies to help conserve and recover Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program. Priority is given to multistate, cooperative conservation projects that demonstrate measurable performance results and benefits SGCN. This federal funding will be matched by more than $2 million in non-Federal funds provided by states and their partners for projects helping SGCN and their habitats.

The SWG Competitive Program, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grants program, awards grants to projects that implement strategies and actions to conserve SGCN contained in approved State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans (also known as State Wildlife Action Plans). Funding for the grants comes from Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations for the SWG Competitive Program.

All 56 states and territorial wildlife agencies have approved State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans, which collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve SGCN. The plans were created through a collaborative effort among state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen and the general public. Each plan was then reviewed and approved by a national team that included members from the Fish and Wildlife Service as well as directors from state wildlife agencies.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission: Coordinated Multi-State Response to a Deadly, Emerging Threat – White-Nose Syndrome in Bats – This project will support a multi-regional coordinated response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging threat to cave-dwelling bats. Awarded funds will be used to detect the extent of WNS spread, conduct surveillance in cave habitats, develop state level response teams and implement WNS response and control strategies. State partners include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. In addition, Bat Conservation International (Austin, TX) will be a major partner.

Federal funds awarded: $998,834; non-federal match: $450,797

Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Use of Fire and Grazing to Improve Grassland Habitats for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) – This project will develop an effective management framework for increasing the diversity of grasslands in working landscapes, thereby increasing the capacity of these areas to support viable populations of SGCN. Project activities will take place on both public and private lands. The use of fire and grazing will initially enhance conditions for SGCN that prefer a mix of woodland and open country, such as the loggerhead shrike. As woody vegetation becomes less prevalent (or is prevented from spreading on lands that were recently grazed, but are now used exclusively for recreation), habitat for SGCN that require open grasslands will be created or enhanced (e.g., the greater prairie chicken and Henslow’s sparrow). Over time, with moderation of stocking rates and application of fire, these lands will exhibit greater herbaceous structural diversity and begin to accommodate species requiring more variation in grassland habitat structure (e.g., the regal fritillary butterfly and upland sandpiper). Private lands dedicated to grazing or recreational uses and proximate to existing reserves will thus effectively act in a complementary fashion to benefit these SGCN and other grassland-dependent wildlife. Iowa DNR will partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation as well as personnel from Illinois and Oklahoma to accomplish project goals.

Federal funds awarded: $732,904; non-federal match: $317,113

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