Approximately $5 million will be distributed to state wildlife agencies in Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington through the State Wildlife Grants Competitive Program to support cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday.
The State Wildlife Grants Competitive Program provides federal dollars to support the development and implementation of each state’s unique State Wildlife Action Plan, which assesses the health of wildlife and habitats, identifies the problems they face and outlines the actions needed to conserve and recover imperiled fish and wildlife species over the long term.
“Across the country, conserving high quality habitat, restoring degraded lands and waters and removing invasive species are among the top priorities for conservation,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “Though the challenges to keeping wildlife from becoming endangered are greater than ever before, State Wildlife Action Plans present a national action agenda for the conservation of wildlife species that have not benefited from conservation attention due to lack of funding.”
Priority for State Wildlife Competitive Grant funding is placed on multistate, cooperative conservation projects focused on species and habitats with the greatest conservation need. States and their partners will match the federal funding by more than $2 million in non-federal funds.
“We can wait for wildlife to decline and react to problems with expensive, last-ditch efforts or we can take proactive, cost-effective steps to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered before it is too late,” said Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The 6,300-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. “The State Wildlife Grants Program helps states turn the trend around and reduce the need for listing many species and costly recovery efforts,” added Humpert.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded State Wildlife Competitive Grants to the following projects:
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission: Coordinated Multi-State Response to a Deadly, Emerging Threat – White-Nose Syndrome in Bats—to support a multi-regional coordinated response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging threat to cave-dwelling bats. State partners include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin as well as Bat Conservation International (Austin, TX). Federal funds awarded: $998,834; non-federal match: $450,797
Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Use of Fire and Grazing to Improve Grassland Habitats for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)—to support the development of an effective management framework for increasing the diversity of grasslands in working landscapes, thereby increasing the capacity of these areas to support viable populations of SGCN. Project activities will take place on both public and private lands. Iowa DNR will partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation as well as personnel from Illinois and Oklahoma to accomplish project goals. Federal funds awarded: $732,904; non-federal match: $317,113
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: The Conservation of Marsh Tidal Birds: Guiding Action at the Intersection of Our Changing Landscape—to provide information for the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast states to protect regionally important habitats for tidal marsh birds (including 26 species of greatest conservation need) and to provide a regionally consistent platform for tidal marsh monitoring in anticipation of sea-level rise and upland/watershed development. Primary state partners include Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland with work also occurring in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia. Federal funds awarded: $760,202; non-federal match: $412,159
Michigan Department of Natural Resources: Oak Savanna, Pine Barrens and Jack Pine Restoration in Michigan and Ohio for Species of Greatest Conservation Need—to restore and enhance 600 acres of oak savanna in Michigan and Ohio for the recovery and benefit of the Karner blue butterfly and restore 400 acres of pine barrens and jack pine forest in Michigan for the recovery and benefit of Kirtland’s warbler. The project also will potentially benefit 188 species of greatest conservation need. Forty-five percent (or 450 acres) of the project lands fall under private ownership. Federal funds awarded: $852,484; non-federal match: $383,000
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission: Nebraska Natural Legacy Project: Phase III—to implement conservation partnerships and actions on private and public lands in Nebraska and South Dakota to enhance and improve native prairies, wetlands and woodlands for the benefit of SGCN in both states. This project will benefit Bell’s vireo, greater prairie chicken, ottoe skipper, swift fox and the Northern red belly dace. Federal funds awarded: $1,000,000; non-federal match: $333,333
Washington Department of Game and Fish: State Wildlife Grants Effectiveness Monitoring—to implement the third phase of development of a spatially enabled decision support system, which allows states to share common data with their conservation partners and strategically prioritize actions across multiple states. The system will facilitate strategic implementation of State Wildlife Grant program funds across multiple states including Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Federal funds awarded: $514,059; non-federal match: $171,353
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.
To view the State Wildlife Grant allocations for each state, go to http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SWG/SWG09Apportionment.pdf.
For more information about State Wildlife Action Plans and to read an accomplishments report, visit www.wildlifeactionplans.org.