The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is distributing $56 million to state wildlife agencies through the State Wildlife Grant (SWG) Program to support natural resource stewardship efforts and to conserve imperiled wildlife and their habitats. Grant funds are allocated to all states and territories according to a congressionally mandated formula based on population size and geographic area.
“Today -- Earth Day 2022 -- we celebrate the critical conservation work done by state wildlife agencies,” said Paul Rauch, the Service’s Assistant Director, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “With and habitat loss pushing more and more species to the brink, now is the time to be even proactive, collaborative and innovative in our efforts to save America’s wildlife and plant species. Through the SWG Program, states and the Service leverage their resources to enhance wildlife habitat and improve biodiversity to keep species from reaching the point where they are in danger of extinction or too far gone to save.”
Since its inception 20 years ago, the SWG Program has granted over $1 billion to a myriad of conservation projects and efforts for both wildlife and aquatic species. Recent program success stories include:
SWG Program funds granted to Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee have helped protect and recover the interior least tern. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of state fish and wildlife agencies, universities and other partners, the Service removed the interior least tern from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Species in 2021.
The Service proposed to list the Pecos pupfish as endangered in 1998 but withdrew the proposal in 2000 due to conservation actions and agreements among the Service, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, among other partners. In recent years, NMDGF has used SWG Program funding to inventory and monitor populations of the species in New Mexico and to aid in the development of the Pecos Pupfish Conservation Agreement. This agreement outlines objectives and conservation approaches to ensure the continued survival of the species.
In recent years, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have partnered to implement the first landscape-scale survey of reptiles and amphibians on Saipan, the largest and most populated of the Northern Mariana Islands. Project funding for the survey was provided by the SWG Program, with technical support from USGS. Data obtained from this first-of-its-kind survey are being used for habitat and species management to benefit the Micronesian saw-tailed gecko (Perochirus ateles) and other at-risk species.
The SWG Program is administered by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Funds must be used to address conservation needs described within State Wildlife Action Plans. The program provides matching grants for the development and implementation of state programs and supports priority setting for species and habitats. These priorities benefit wildlife, especially at-risk or imperiled species, often referred to as species of greatest conservation need. This collaborative approach to conservation facilitates partnerships among universities, industry, non-profit conservation organizations and private landowners. The projects also garner financial support from non-governmental organizations.
View the complete 2022 SWG Program formula apportionment here: https://www.fws.gov/library/collections/state-wildlife-grants-swg
Learn more about the SWG Program at https://www.fws.gov/program/state-wildlife-grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.