Friday, October 30, 2009

State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program Receive a Crucial Funding Boost from Congress

Increase will help state fish and wildlife agencies address environmental threats to some of the nation’s most imperiled species

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congress approved $90 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program as part of the $32.2 billion Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriation Act for 2010. The increase is $15 million over last year’s level and also includes a change in the nonfederal match requirement from 50% to 35%.

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, now in its 10th year, is a principal source of funding for implementation of congressionally required State Wildlife Action Plans in every state and territory. The Plans 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 increase in federal dollars comes at a time when state fish and wildlife agencies are increasingly challenged to address the impacts of invasive species, habitat loss and degradation and the exacerbating affects of climate change.

“We appreciate the work of the administration and Congress to secure increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “These additional funds will help states tackle the backlog of conservation projects to address the threats of some of the nation’s most imperiled fish and wildlife and they will also maintain existing and create new jobs across the country.”

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program was started in 2000 to meet a longstanding need for funding of fish and wildlife species that are typically not hunted or fished.

“We appreciate the work of Norm Dicks, Chairman of the House Interior, Environment and Related Appropriations subcommittee, Ranking Member Simpson and the entire committee for helping to secure the additional funding,” said Phil Anderson, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is essential to the successful implementation of the Washington State Wildlife Action Plan and the additional funding will allow us to step up our efforts to address climate change.”

The apportionment of funding through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is based on one third of land area and two thirds on population. For example, for fiscal year 2010, the state of Washington will receive about $1.5 million in apportionment funds. The program also will provide tribes with $7 million for a competitive grants program. An additional $5 million will be made available to states for a competitive grants program.

“The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program provides the only source of federal funding directed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered and is that much more urgent now because of the impacts to wildlife from global warming,” said Naomi Edelson, Senior Manager, State Wildlife Programs for the National Wildlife Federation and member of the Teaming With Wildlife steering committee. “This increase is a natural investment toward protecting fish and wildlife and the natural lands and waters they depend on for survival.”

Increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program is supported by the 6,200 member Teaming With Wildlife coalition made up of wildlife conservation groups, nature centers, hunting and fishing organizations and businesses.

For more information about Teaming With Wildlife and State Wildlife Action Plans, go to

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sportsmen and Women Thank Senators Bingaman, Baucus and Whitehouse for Introducing Legislation to Safeguard Fish and Wildlife from Climate Change

Natural Resources Adaptation bill helps ensure the long-term survival of fish and wildlife while providing Americans with a healthier environment and jobs

Fish and wildlife conservationists today lauded Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and his co-sponsors Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for introducing the “Natural Resources Climate Adaptation Act” (S.1933). The bill would provide for dedicated funding to federal and state natural resource agencies to plan and implement science-informed, on-the-ground projects to help fish and wildlife adapt and respond to the impacts of climate change and to foster resilient habitats.

“We applaud and appreciate the leadership of Senators Bingaman, Baucus and Whitehouse in crafting a bill that addresses the unprecedented effects climate change will have on natural systems and for recognizing the important role state and federal natural resource agencies play in ensuring that these systems continue to function,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Functioning ecosystems are not only vital to the health of fish and wildlife resources, they are critical to the quality of life for Americans because they provide cleaner air and water, flood attenuation, carbon sequestration and recreation.”

“Fish and wildlife populations should be considered a barometer of a healthy human environment. Our strategy for successfully adapting to climate change must include sustaining the natural diversity, distribution and abundance of fish and wildlife populations,” said George Cooper, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This bill goes a long way toward including the resources necessary to protect and restore habitat affected by climate change to assure American sportsmen and women that hunting and fishing will remain sustainable for this and future generations.”

A century of fish and wildlife conservation work is in danger from a changing climate. For more than 100 years, federal and state natural resources agencies—funded to a great extent by hunters and anglers—have invested billions of dollars in land and water conservation. However, climate change is jeopardizing this investment by escalating and accelerating threats such as the spread of invasive species and catastrophic fires, which put many fish and wildlife species at risk.

“For decades, federal and state fish and wildlife agencies, together with hunters and anglers, have invested the financial resources to develop the most successful fish and wildlife conservation programs in the world,” said Steve Williams, President of the Wildlife Management, Inc. “This bill promises to provide the additional funding necessary to adapt to climate change impacts, secure our past investments, and assure that future generations will continue to enjoy and enhance our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.”

Funding for adaptation programs would provide important new resources to agencies in partnership with the private conservation community to undertake the conservation work necessary to help fish and wildlife survive.

“As I head into the field this fall, I'm reminded of why we have the opportunities we have today,” said Land Tawney, National Wildlife Federation Senior Manager for Sportsmen Leadership. “For generations, sportsmen and women have been at the vanguard of this nation's conservation victories. Senators Baucus, Bingaman and Whitehouse deserve credit for taking the next step to ensure future generations have bountiful fish and wildlife populations and healthy natural resources to enjoy.”

In addition, the economic contributions accrued from hunters and anglers and the goods and services they purchase support millions of jobs and generate $76 billion in financial benefit annually. Conserving natural resources helps ensure the survival of countless businesses and communities nationwide.

“Paired with strong efforts to reduce carbon emissions and stop the worst impacts of climate change in the long run, this bill will provide the investments in our nation's natural resources necessary to sustain fish and wildlife populations in the coming decades,” said Steve Moyer, Vice President for Government Affairs at Trout Unlimited. “Hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone who cares about and depends on our natural resources will benefit from this bill.”

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Laura MacLean, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, (202) 624-7744