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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $5.7 Million in State Wildlife Grants to Help Imperiled Species

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that more than $5.7 million in grants will be awarded to seven state fish and wildlife agencies to help conserve and recover imperiled species and habitats through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program. This federal funding will be matched by more than $4.6 million in non-federal funds provided by states and their partners.

The SWG Competitive Program, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grants program, awards grants to projects that implement strategies and actions to conserve Species of Greatest Conservation Need

(SGCN) contained in approved State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans (also known as State Wildlife Action Plans). Priority is given to large-scale cooperative conservation projects that demonstrate measurable performance results and benefits to imperiled species.  Funding for the grants comes from Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations for the SWG Competitive Program.

All 56 states and territorial wildlife agencies have approved State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans, which collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve these priority species.

Conserving these species can help limit costly listings under the Endangered Species Act. The plans were created through a collaborative effort among state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen, and the general public. Each plan was then reviewed and endorsed by a national team consisting of members from the Fish and Wildlife Service staff as well as directors from state wildlife agencies.

Funded projects include:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Title: Conserving State Strategy Species in Pacific Northwest Prairie and Oak Habitats: a Bi-State Partnership

State(s): Washington, Oregon

Goals and Objectives: The project will improve the population status of 21 rare or declining Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) associated with prairie-oak habitats of the Willamette Valley and Puget Trough regions of Oregon and Washington, and thus reduce the likelihood of their need for consideration under the Endangered Species Act. Objectives

include: 1) Implement habitat restoration/management actions on 25 high priority prairie-oak sites, improving habitat quality on 1074 acres; 2) Inventory populations of Oregon vesper sparrow and Mazama pocket gopher to determine their distribution and status and conduct viability assessments of reintroduced and donor populations of western bluebirds in Washington;

3) Implement standardized monitoring strategies to provide a consistent and repeatable framework for monitoring habitat conditions and populations of SGCN; and 4) Manage project actions to result in raised public awareness, engaged partners, and increased conservation of habitats.

Federal Funds requested: $974,664; Non-Federal match: $665,428

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Title: Multi-Species Baseline Initiative

State(s): Idaho, Washington (also British Columbia, Canada) Goals and Objectives: The project’s goal is to conduct a comprehensive survey of 20 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in Idaho and Washington, in order to provide baseline data to accurately assess the status of these species. Because both states have committed to including climate change in the next SWAP revision, the applicant is taking the innovative approach of co-locating climate monitoring stations with SGCN survey plots. This micro-climate data will provide a baseline of climatic regimes necessary for management of different suites of species.

Federal Funds requested: $950,000; Non-Federal match: $857,290

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Title: Nebraska Natural Legacy Project: Striding Toward Sustainability

State(s): Nebraska, Colorado

Goals and Objectives: This project will engage new conservation partners and resources for implementation of Nebraska’s Natural Legacy Project, and expand the project to new Biologically Unique Landscapes (BULs) where SGCN work is lacking. These goals will be accomplished by expanding efforts into three regions. In the Colorado/Nebraska Border Panhandle, the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory will act as the lead to advance shortgrass prairie habitat improvements for Mountain Plover, Burrowing Owl and McCown’s Longspur. In northeastern Nebraska, the applicant will establish new partnerships with Natural Resources Districts for Natural Legacy Project implementation. On a statewide basis, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will build upon its landscape-scale efforts by expanding conservation implementation to additional BULs.

Federal Funds requested: $800,000; Non-Federal match: $555,932

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

Title: Short-Term and Long-Term Actions Needed to Recover the Palila, a Rapidly-Declining Hawaiian Honeycreeper

State(s): Hawaii

Goals and Objectives: Partners will trap predators in over 4,000 ha of Palila critical habitat, and remove ungulates from 22,165 ha of U.S. Fish and Wildlife-designated critical habitat on Mauna Kea volcano, on the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition, project partners will plant 69,000 native plants, collect and process 250 pounds of native plant seed, and control weeds in over 500 ha of critical and high priority habitat. In total,

5,263 of Service-designated Palila Recovery Habitat on Mauna Loa will be protected and restored. The project also includes Palila monitoring and propagation.

Federal Funds requested: $976,759; Non-Federal Match: $1,212,000

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Title: Diverse Grassland Complexes for Species of Greatest Conservation Need

State(s): Michigan

Goals and Objectives: Partners propose to restore and enhance 400 acres of prairie, savanna and grasslands to benefit the federally endangered Karner Blue Butterfly, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, and Northern Harrier. A second objective is to plant 1,350 acres of native prairie grasses and forbs to benefit these and up to 115 other Species of Greatest Conservation Need. These objectives will be accomplished by implementing conservation actions on at least 65 sites in Michigan. At least 1,200 acres of restoration work will occur on private lands. Finally, awarded funds will support development of conservation plans for 35 of the 65 project sites.

Federal Funds Requested: $864,689; Non-Federal Match: $388,500

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Title: Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration Initiative

State(s): Alabama

Goals and Objectives: The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries will enhance and restore longleaf pine ecosystem habitat, as identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan, on over 5,000 acres of private lands and state-owned properties for Species of Greatest Conservation Need. This project adopts landscape-level focal areas that are complementary to Priority Areas for Conservation Action, to amplify on-the-ground activities for 31 SGCN, resulting in enhanced agency coordination. Focal areas include the Barbour Wildlife Management Area, the Coosa Forever Wild Tract, and private lands in selected counties.

Federal Funds Requested: $1M ($874,327.40 awarded); Non-Fed Match:

$826,577.40

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Title: WAFWA Grassland Initiative: Deploying and developing management tools to enhance populations of over 15 grassland species

State(s): Arizona, Montana, Texas, Wyoming Goals and Objectives: This landscape-level approach identifies and implements components in partners’ State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) for the white-tailed, Gunnison’s, Utah, and black-tailed prairie dogs, all of which are identified in one or more SWAP as Species of Greatest Conservation Needs (SCGN). By managing for these four “keystone” species, the states can effectively address conservation needs for more than 12 other grassland species with SCGN status (black-footed ferret, swift and kit foxes, lesser prairie chicken, mountain plover, burrowing owl, ferruginous hawk, Swainson’s hawk, loggerhead shrike, long billed curlews, grasshopper sparrows, and chestnut-collared longspur. Activities will focus on field trials of a new Sylvatic Plague Vaccine as a strategy to preclude potential listing of one or more of the targeted prairie dog species.

Federal Funds Requested: $798,135($291,375 awarded); Non-Fed Match:

$97,125

For more information on State Wildlife Grants visit:

http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/subpages/grantprograms/swg/SWG.htm

Logo courtesy USFWS

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