Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service Announces Grants to Help Protect Snails, Bees and Birds
More than $831,000 Awarded to Hawaii and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

May 23, 2016


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

Many plant and animal species in the Pacific Islands are fragile and endangered.  The remote, isolated location of the islands has, over time, produced the most rare and spectacular topical flora and fauna species, most of which are located nowhere else in the world.  Did you know that Hawaii is known as ‘the endangered species capital of the world’?  This is mainly due to the introduction of invasive species.  The introduction of alien plants and animal species and diseases to Pacific Islands has had a devastating effect on the native plants, birds and animals.

Recognizing the uniqueness of these natural environments and the protection efforts needed to conserve these species, both the State of Hawaii and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have been awarded funding through the Service’s Competitive State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program.  More than $593,000 is awarded to the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, to protect and conserve native species like the Akikiki, the Akekee, the Puaiohi, and the Iiwi, endangered birds with occur in relatively low densities in the Northwestern portion of the Alakai, near Kokee State Park.  Projects for the conservation of the Hawaiian yellow-faced bee and 14 species of Oahu tree snails are also awarded funds by this year’s Competitive SWG program. 

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Lands and Natural Resources, will receive $238,413 to prevent the extinction of the Partulid tree snails through management of invasive species and the protection of the habitat.

“Partnerships like these are critical to the on-the-ground restoration and conservation work essential for protecting imperiled species and their habitats,” said Robyn Thorson, the Service’s Pacific Regional Director. “Projects financed by the State Wildlife Grants program strategically funds work that supports large-scale conservation efforts that help protect rare plants and wildlife of the Pacific Islands for generations to come.”

All 56 states and territorial wildlife agencies have Wildlife Action Plans, which proactively protect  Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The total funding awarded for the 2016 Competitive SWG program is $5.5 million and will be distributed towards projects in 11 state fish and wildlife agencies and one regional fish and wildlife association.  Funding will be matched by nearly $3 million in non-federal funds provided by states and their partners for projects that help protect species and the ecosystems on which they depend.

“Projects financed by the State Wildlife Grants program help safeguard some of our nation’s most at-risk species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “By strategically funding work that supports large-scale conservation efforts, we can help protect our nation’s native wildlife and wild places while potentially preventing the listing of certain species under the Endangered Species Act.”

See the complete list of 2016 Competitive SWG projects

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