May 15, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $25 Million to Conserve Migratory Bird Habitat
Brent Lawrence (FWS) 703-358-2014
$1 Million for projects in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the approval of more than $25 million in federal grants and Federal Duck Stamp revenues to protect, restore, or enhance thousands of acres of wildlife habitat in the United States and Mexico for the benefit of shared migratory bird populations. Among the projects awarded, the Willamette Valley Partnership, through Ducks Unlimited, will receive $1,000,000 for the development of four waterfowl-centric wetland complexes in Oregon, including Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge.
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission voted to approve the use of Migratory Bird Conservation Fund monies and North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants to acquire and enhance habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, landbirds, marsh birds, and other wetland-dependent species. Total project costs for the Willamette Valley Partnership exceed $3.3 million, including matching funds from partners: FBNF Limited Partnership; Jonah Interagency Office; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Pinedale Anticline Project Office; Sommers Ranch Partnership/Grindstone Cattle Co.; The Conservation Fund; Wyoming Stock Growers Association Land Trust; and the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust.
The Service has been a longtime conservation partner in the Willamette Valley, working with landowners, agencies, and organizations such as the Pacific Coast Joint Venture, on restoring nesting, foraging and breeding habitat along the Pacific Flyway. Situated between the Coast Range to the west and Cascade Mountains to the east, the Willamette Valley is a long, flat floodplain that historically supported over 600,000 acres of wetlands.
Phase one of this project will create a waterfowl migration and wintering corridor in the valley. It will develop four waterfowl-centric wetland complexes, protecting 460 acres and restoring 490 acres of wetlands in Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, three state Wildlife Management Areas, and adjacent privately owned lands.
Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is one of four located in the fertile Willamette Valley of northwestern Oregon . The Refuge is situated in open farmland near the confluence of the Santiam and Willamette rivers in the middle of the broad Willamette Valley. The mild, rainy winter climate of this area is an ideal environment for wintering waterfowl. The Refuge consists of 1,765 acres of cropland, which provide forage for wintering geese, 600 acres of riparian forests, and 500 acres of shallow water seasonal wetlands. Ankeny NWR also provides habitat for a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Wildlife and wildlands observation, photography, hiking, and environmental education and interpretation are the major public use activities allowed on the Refuge. Habitat improvement and restoration are essential for the continued survival of wildlife populations along the Pacific Flyway.
“Wetlands are some of the most biologically rich habitats in our country, providing nesting and foraging ground for migratory species,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director, Robyn Thorson. “They are also facing some of the greatest threats including habitat degradation, land conversion, and sea-level rise.”
Thanks to hunters, conservationists and other wildlife enthusiasts, more than $6 million will be used to protect 2,200 acres of wildlife habitat that will be added to units of the National Wildlife Refuge System in California, South Carolina and Texas. For every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, 98 cents goes directly to purchase or lease vital habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
“Protection of wetlands ensures that hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers and photographers can continue to enjoy these precious resources,” Thorson said. “Wildlife recreationists make up nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population and contribute more than $100 billion to our economy.”
An additional $19.5 million awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act will protect, restore, or enhance more than 170,000 acres of habitat for migratory birds in the United States and Mexico, leveraging $57 million in matching funds. Eighteen projects in 15 United States and seven projects in Mexico will receive North American Wetlands Conservation Act funding.
The 2013-14 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, also known as the Federal Duck Stamp, will go on sale June 28. Since 1934, sales of Federal Duck Stamps have raised more than $800 million to acquire 6 million acres of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. This year’s awarded MBHC grants were awarded to California, Texas and South Carolina.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Through the Act’s U.S. Standard grants program, 3,300 partners have been involved in 910 projects affecting more than 7 million acres of habitat. This year’s awarded grants will cover 18 projects in 15 states. More information about the U.S. Standard projects approved is available at: http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/US/2013_March.shtm