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Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals to Benefit the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Through Private Stewardship Grants Program


August 5, 2005

Contacts: Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291

Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking proposals for private lands conservation funding to benefit the federally listed, endangered Ivory-billed Woodpecker through its Private Stewardship Grants Program.

“With the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, we have a rare second chance,” Norton said. “The woodpecker is telling us we’re getting it right in the Lower Mississippi Valley. We cannot let that chance go without continuing the cooperative conservation that private landowners are making possible through this kind of incentive-based conservation. And we cannot forget the critical role waterfowl hunters play in the conservation of millions of acres of valuable wetland habitats simply by purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp. Indeed, the conservation achievements of this effort will benefit not just the Ivory-billed woodpecker, but also many other species of waterfowl and wildlife.”

Examples of project activities could include habitat restoration or management activities for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, such as tree planting, tree thinning, invasive species control, restoration to address habitat fragmentation issues, girdling of trees, or other forest habitat improvement, management or restoration activities expected to benefit the species. The Private Stewardship Grant Proposal (PSGP) program does not fund research, land acquisition or conservation easements but focuses efforts towards on-the-ground habitat improvements.

“The Service is making $800,000 available for projects that will assist private landowners who desire to make forest habitat improvements expected to benefit the Ivory-billed Woodpecker,” said Sam D. Hamilton, who is the Service’s southeast regional director and also is leading the recovery effort for the woodpecker. “We value the role private landowners and other partners play in recovery efforts to address the needs of endangered and threatened species.”

On April 28, when the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was announced, the Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns reallocated $10.2 million in Federal funds for the bird’s protection and recovery. About $2 million in Federal funding is expected to come from financial assistance programs such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund, and the PSGP.

Landowners and their partners may submit proposals directly to the Service for PSGP funding. In August 2004, the Service awarded 97 grants totaling more than $7 million to individuals and groups to undertake conservation projects for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species on private lands in 39 states. For more information regarding this grant opportunity and on how and where to submit proposals, please visit the Service’s Southeast Region web site at or contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Endangered Species Program, Suite 200, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345. Citizens may also call 404-679-7140.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in the United States and has historically preferred expansive areas of mature forestland with embedded patches of recently disturbed forest resulting from hurricanes, tornadoes, fire or other natural disturbances. Its diet is known to be largely dependent on wood boring beetle larvae found in recently dead and dying trees although it is known to feed on vegetable matter during certain times of the year. The bird is a cavity-nester, and in the Mississippi Delta, it nests in a variety of hardwood and cypress trees while in other areas where there is nesting data, it has used ash, hackberry, bald cypress, cabbage palms and pine. The species has an extraordinary large home-range, and it has been estimated that one pair of Ivory-billed woodpeckers need 6 – 10 square miles or more of habitat.

The Recovery Team for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has held initial meetings to begin developing a plan for the woodpecker’s recovery. To learn more about activities related to this effort, please visit

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 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 National Fish Hatcheries, 64 Fishery Resources 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 and Native American Tribal 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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