Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

$7 Million in Federal Grants Awarded to Native American Tribes for Wildlife Conservation Work

April 20, 2009


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

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that 41 Native American tribes in 16 states will receive $7 million in competitive federal grants to undertake a wide variety of conservation projects. Funding is provided through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Tribal Wildlife Grants program (TWG), which helps tribes defray the cost of implementing programs on their lands benefiting fish, wildlife, and their habitat.

“Native American tribes manage nearly 100 million acres of land in the United States, land that provides important habitat for some of our nation’s most treasured species. This program provides crucial financial support to tribal governments to help them manage and improve their fish and wildlife heritage for the benefit of all Americans,” said Salazar.

Since its inception in 2003, the competitive Tribal Wildlife Grants program has awarded a total of nearly $50 million to federally recognized Indian Tribes, enabling them to enhance their ability to manage, monitor, and conserve important fish and wildlife resources. Species benefiting from these grants include those of Native American cultural significance, as well as many species not hunted or fished.

This year’s funded projects run the gamut of wildlife conservation activities, from restoring wetlands and other habitat, to conducting traditional wildlife surveys, and from invasive weed management to fishery studies.

The Service received a total of 101 proposals and selected 41 with the highest scores in a uniform ranking process. The maximum award was $200,000.

A state-by-state breakdown of the successful projects and associated tribes is attached. Additional information, including a more comprehensive description of the individual projects, is available on the web at /

FY 2009 Listing of Tribal Wildlife Grant Recipients:


Native Village of Barrow

As sea ice conditions change, walrus, polar bears, and other species are becoming more reliant on the coastal areas near Barrow. This two-year project will enable the Native Village of Barrow to monitor wildlife and educate the community about species at risk.

Chickaloon Native Village

This project continues the tribe’s work that began in 2003 with the Matanuska Watershed Salmon Habitat and Restoration and Research project to restore miles of salmon habitat, enhance populations, and monitor salmon escapement.

Native Village of Nanwalek

The sockeye salmon run in English Bay River began a steady decline 20 years ago that resulted in the closure of its fisheries. The operation of salmon counting weirs will provide information needed for species restoration.

halen Tribe

The freshwater seals that inhabit Iliamna Lake are an important subsistence resource. This project will gather population data and tissue samples.

New Stuyahok Traditional Council

The Nushagnak-Mulchatna watershed in Southwest Alaska supports healthy wildlife populations and the largest run of Chinook salmon in the state. This five-year effort will protect fish and wildlife habitat by reserving adequate river flows and identifying lands for long-term conservation and management.


Cocopah Tribe

The riparian ecosystems of the Lower Colorado River on the Cocopah Reservation have been degraded by more than a century of water development, deforestation, development, and invasive species. This project will initiate restoration and monitoring activities across seven acres.

Hopi Tribe

Eagles, particularly golden eagles, are culturally significant to many tribes throughout the U.S. This project will identify and map habitat of the eagle’s prey base and assist the tribe in future management of eagles.

Navajo Nation

This project will monitor the annual occupancy and reproduction of golden eagles on Hopi and Navajo Nation lands during the 2009 reproductive season.


Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

This project will improve spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead trout by providing shelter, establishing rearing pools, curtailing stream bank erosion, and other enhancement measures on Forsythe Creek.

Karuk Tribe of California

The tribe, along with personnel from the White Sulfur Spring National Fish Hatchery, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and Whitman College will examine the status of freshwater mussels on the Klamath and Salmon Rivers.

Pinoleville Pomo

This project will restore riparian habitat for culturally important steelhead and salmon populations through a variety of in-stream management techniques.

Pit River Tribe

Two miles of the Parker Creek will be restored and unrestricted grazing will be eliminated. A riparian function will be enhanced by establishing native plants. Data will be tabulated to balance agricultural operations and a sustainable fishery.

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Baseline surveys of habitat and wildlife populations will be made in order to develop and implement a habitat management plan, which will include monitoring, education, and restoration components. Tribal personnel will be trained to manage fish and wildlife resources.

Torres Martinez

Projections indicate the Salton Sea will continue to recede. This project will provide wetland habitat on approximately 85 acres of adjacent tribal land and replace invasive salt cedar with native vegetation.

Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians

The Old Woman Mountain Preserve and Learning Landscapes program will provide information about threatened and endangered species, their meaning in tribal tradition, and develop a guide for identification and protection. This project will also evaluate the status of the desert tortoise and provide an analysis of climate change in the eastern Mojave Desert.


Seminole Tribe of Florida

This project will implement previous habitat assessment and management needs for the red-cockaded woodpecker, Everglades snail kite, and other species. The effort will involve prescribed burns and fire prevention planning and training.


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

This project will restore the historic oyster fishery in Popponesset Bay. The restoration of fish, wildlife, and plant species and their habitat is central to this undertaking. The increasing threat of fish kills due to extreme nitrogen loading will be eliminated. In partnership with the town of Mashpee and the Massachusetts Estuaries Project, this project will implement research goals and monitoring objectives.


Passamaquoddy Tribe - Indian Township Reservation

The Passamaquoddy Tribe will conduct annual surveys to inventory baseline data on ruffed grouse, American woodcock, bald eagle, and resident amphibians. This project completes a ten-year study.


Gun Lake Tribe

The Gun Lake Tribe will increase its capacity to protect and manage the state threatened and culturally important lake sturgeon. The status and critical areas for habitat protection and restoration of juvenile lake sturgeon in the Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers will be assessed. Educational efforts, including an event for the Sturgeon Youth Day are included.


Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians
This project will provide data on habitat use that will enable the Grand Portage Band’s Natural Resources Management Department and the 1854 Treaty Authority (in cooperation with the MN Department of Natural Resources and Fond du Lac Band) to improve habitat management for moose, and make informed land management decisions.

Prairie Island Indian Community

This project will plan a number of wildlife and habitat enhancement activities, building upon existing information and will cover more than 1,300 acres within the Upper Mississippi River flyway. It will establish a baseline for many species and document their conservation, wildlife management, and habitat needs.

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians

The lake sturgeon was extirpated from the entire Red River of the North Watershed by the 1950’s. With continued actions of federal and state agencies along with the Band, it is hoped that there will be full recovery of lake sturgeon. This project will enable the Band to participate in the recovery through stocking and management activities.


Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck

This project will secure 25-year conservation leases for 1,280 acres of prime wetland and associated grassland acres for wildlife species and habitat management.

Blackfeet Nation

This comprehensive inventory and survey of fish and herpetofauna will encompass the streams and rivers of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. In addition to providing new information on species diversity, the survey will update the Blackfeet Fisheries Management Plan to further the conservation of native fish populations and habitats.

Chippewa Cree

Cougars are a tribally significant species and the Chippewa Cree are working to ensure their continued existence on tribal lands. This monitoring study will capture, collar, and monitor a minimum of six cougars. Data will be gathered to better understand cougar habitat, predation, disease, reproduction, and home ranges. Guidelines will be developed to include harvest strategies, habitat maintenance information and potential ordinances, and enforcement plans.

North Carolina

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

This project will implement management and restoration activities for species of Federal concern and cultural importance to the Cherokee on reservation lands. The goal is to protect rare species and implement habitat improvements while avoiding high priority habitat in tribal economic development planning.

New Mexico

Pueblo of Santa Ana

Mule deer and elk are of cultural significance for the tribe as well as a food source. The project will enable the tribe to develop a comprehensive management plan for these species.


Summit Lake Paiute Tribe

The tribe will conserve and enhance the biodiversity of the reservation and surrounding area by completing a noxious weed inventory and treatment, providing education on noxious weeds, and training employees and volunteers.


Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma

The Iowa Tribe established an eagle aviary and rehabilitation center to rehabilitate eagles and return them to the wild. It currently has eleven non-releasable eagles and has released three. This grant expands the aviary, hires additional personnel, and supports the conservation of this national symbol.

Osage Nation

This project will provide for the reintroduction of the Neosho mucket and monitoring of freshwater mussels to determine the impact of invasive zebra mussels. The Neosho mucket is a state endangered species historically found on the Osage Reservation.

Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

This project will propagate and reintroduce culturally significant and imperiled freshwater mussels, including the rabbitsfoot, Neosho mucket, and Neosho madtom. A previous project funded a facility to propagate fresh water mussels and comprehensive recovery plan, in collaboration with Oklahoma State University, adjacent tribes, and the Service.

South Dakota

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation is one of ten critical sites needing to meet the goals of the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team and hopefully contribute to the down listing and eventual delisting of the ferret by 2010. The Cheyenne River Sioux project will conduct the annual black-footed ferret adult and kit spotlight survey.

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe

The goal of this project is to protect the tribe’s black-footed ferret population in the event of a sylvatic plague epizootic.

Oglala Sioux

This project will determine local herd dynamics and habitat use of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep located within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The project includes a comprehensive study, population augmentation, development of a management plan, and evaluation of the potential for a sustained harvest.


Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

The project contributes to an ongoing effort with state, provincial, and federal agencies to return California bighorn sheep to suitable habitat, specifically to their historic range on the Colville Reservation. Information from this project will be incorporated into the tribe’s Wildlife Management Plan and tribal youth will be educated in survey data collection and interpretation.

Lummi Indian Nation

Lummi Natural Resources (LNR) will support recovery of endangered bull trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, and other species important to the Lummi in the Nooksack River basin. By designing, building, and monitoring pool-producing logjams, the LNR, working with the Nooksack Indian Tribe, will enhance salmonid populations and habitat. The project will also educate tribal youth, compile habitat data, and advance the tribe’s ability to manage its fish and wildlife resources.

Puyallup Tribe of Indians

With the support of the Medicine Creek Treaty of Tribes, the Puyallup will conduct habitat improvement projects on the critical summer habitat of the South Rainier Elk Herd. The tribe has used this species for subsistence and ceremonial purposes since time immemorial. The project will monitor the herd and improve 200 acres of forage habitat for elk and other wildlife species.

Quileute Tribe

Knotweed is an invasive plant that rapidly displaces native vegetation and destroys salmon habitat. Salmon are vital to the Quileute Tribe’s subsistence, ceremonies, and commerce. The Tribe has teamed with federal, state, and local governments to assess knotweed presence, remove knotweed, and monitor native vegetation return. Quileute’s project and partnership with the Olympic Knotweed Working Group will record data and map invasive plants to coordinate restoration work on four native salmon runs.

Skokomish Indian Tribe

This project will identify and mitigate potential causes of the decline of the Olympic elk herd. It will provide data on status, health, and movement of elk to better understand and manage their population and their habitat. Daily monitoring and monthly aerial surveys will provide data that is essential to the Tribal Wildlife Management Plan and establishes a baseline to monitor the effects of climate change on this species.


Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe

Telemetry data will be collected on up to three wolves over one year to establish the home range of the “Eddy Creek Pack”. The information collected will provide a basis for development of a comprehensive wolf management plan for the reservation.

Menominee Indian Tribe

The Menominee Conservation Department will develop a tribal fish and wildlife management program. Fishery data collection will be improved and an updated survey of lakes and streams will allow the Tribe to continue monitoring efforts, assess lake productivity, analyze fish populations, and create a subsistence fishery. Biological monitoring of habitat use and population status will allow assessment of current management strategies.

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