Stewardship Grants Program
What is the authority for this grants program? Authorization is provided by Congress under the Department of the Interior’s Appropriations Act.
How much funding was approved for FY04? Nationally, this program was funded at approximately $7 million in FY04, and the Southeast Region received an allocation of $1.3 million.
How many applications were received? Competition for the Private Stewardship Grants Program was extremely keen in the Southeast United States this year as demonstrated by the fact that the Service received 58 project proposals worth over $10 million in on-the-ground conservation projects.
What are the criteria for applying for a PSGP grant and when are applications due? There are six basic criteria that must be met when applying for a PSGP grant: (1) the action must represent a voluntary conservation effort on behalf of the private landowner; (2) the proposed project must be on private land; (3) the project needs to benefit federally-listed endangered, threatened, proposed, candidate or at-risk species; (4) at least a 10 percent match of the total project cost in non-federal funds or in-kind services is required; (5) the proposal must either identify some of the specific landowners who intend to participate or otherwise demonstrate that the project will have full landowner participation; (6) the proposal must include a reasonably detailed budget; and (7) the proposal needs to clearly articulate how the success of the project will be measured. The Call for Proposals is normally issued in early winter. This year project applications were due March 31, 2004.
Can States apply for this grants program? No, however the States receive funds from a different Service program entitled the Landowner Incentive Program that complements the Private Stewardship Grants Program. The States are also eligible to receive funding through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.
Can Private Stewardship Grants be used to acquire lands? No. This program is designed to help private landowners who desire to retain ownership of their lands and take actions to benefit imperiled species.
How is it decided what grants will be funded? The Service receives all of the applications and screens them to ensure that the project meets the basic eligibility criteria. The Private Stewardship Grants Program calls for the Service to establish a Diverse Panel to review the grant applications and provide recommendations to the Secretary of Interior who awards the grants. In the Southeast Region, the Panel members represented three States, forestry industry, the agricultural industry, a scientific representative, a representative of the Society for Ecological Restoration, a conservation group, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Panel considers specific criteria when ranking the proposed projects.
What are the ranking/evaluation criteria? There are three major ranking factors: (1) the number of federally-listed, proposed, candidate, or at-risk species that will directly benefit from the project; (2) the importance of the project to the conservation of the target species (duration of benefits; magnitude of benefits; urgency of project); and (3) other proposal merits such as whether the project complements other projects in the area, unique attributes of the project, feasibility of the project, or extraordinary benefits of the project.
What are some examples of projects that have been funded in the past? Past successful projects have involved habitat management for the federally-listed as endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (prescribed burning; mid-story control; reintroductions); longleaf pine restoration and planting; riparian stream habitat restoration and management; pitcher plant bog restoration; improving water quality by reducing sedimentation that can adversely affect fish and imperiled freshwater mussels; and restoration of colonial bird habitat.
How important are partnerships to this grant program? One of the key successes of the Private Stewardship Grants Program is that it helps the Service develop new and expanded partners+-hips with others for the benefit of imperiled species. In the Southeast Region, this year’s grants have resulted in over 136 partnerships. By working together to address serious conservation needs, steady progress can be made towards recovery of endangered and threatened species, a key goal of the Endangered Species Act.
Why is the Private Stewardship Grants Program so important? This Fish and Wildlife Service program is integral to conserving species on private land. The program is directed towards assisting private landowners engaged in voluntary conservation efforts that benefit imperiled species. Since non-federal land provides at least 80 percent of needed habitat for half of the nation’s threatened and endangered species, it is important to work with landowners who desire to help in the recovery of these species.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 National Wildlife Refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 National Fish Hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management Offices and 81 Ecological Services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.
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