More than $61 million will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories to help conserve and recover imperiled fish and wildlife species through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday.
The State Wildlife Grants Program provides federal dollars to every state and territory to support the development and implementation of their unique State Wildlife Action Plans, which assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face and outline the actions needed to conserve them over the long term to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.
“The State Wildlife Grant program exemplifies the Department of the Interior’s strong support for conservation efforts by the states,” said Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. “Along with President Obama’s commitment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the State Wildlife Grants will provide states critical funding to help conserve their highest priority wildlife, plants and habitat.”
“State and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have a long history of success in conserving game species, thanks to the support of hunter and angler license fees and federal excise taxes; but 90 percent of our nation’s wildlife—tens of thousands of species—is neither hunted nor fished,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “State Wildlife Grants help to partially fill the gap in conservation funding by supporting projects that prevent all wildlife from declining to the point of being endangered.”
Projects supported by State Wildlife Grants protect and restore important lands and waters; collect information on what kinds of wildlife are in trouble; and facilitate partnerships with landowners to protect declining species and habitats on public and private lands. Priority for use of grant funds is placed on those species and habitats with the greatest conservation need.
“By emphasizing a proactive approach, the State Wildlife Grants Program supports states and territories in their efforts to conserve wildlife and habitats before they become more rare, risky and costly to protect,” said Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The 6,000-member Teaming With Wildlife coalition, made up of organizations and businesses, strongly supports increased State Wildlife Grant funding for wildlife conservation, education and nature-based recreation.
Congress created the State Wildlife Grants Program in FY2002, funded from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Funds appropriated under the program are allocated to each state and other eligible jurisdictions according to a formula based on land area and population. Since the program’s inception, Congress has distributed more than $500 million for conservation work on state and private lands.
For more information about State Wildlife Action Plans and to read an accomplishments report, visit www.wildlifeactionplans.org.
To view the State Wildlife Grant allocations for each state, go to http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SWG/SWG09Apportionment.pdf.