The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $11 million in grants to California to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife. California is one of 21 states to receive nearly $33 million to support conservation planning and acquisition of habitat for imperiled fish, wildlife and plants.
The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species in California, ranging from the Peninsular bighorn sheep in Riverside County to California red-legged frogs in Los Angeles County.
“Our strong partnerships with states, landowners and local communities are the key to the successful protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species, and these grants will fund important conservation work,” said Secretary Salazar. “While dozens of imperiled species will benefit from these efforts, improving the health of our land and water will also help the people, communities and economies that depend on these resources.”
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, these competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
“Ensuring the survival of imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The vital funding provided by these grants is matched by the states and leveraged to great advantage in helping conserve and recover some of the most imperiled wildlife in the country.”
This year, the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund provides approximately $9.5 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, $15 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and $8.5 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help advance creative partnerships for imperiled species conservation recovery.
A complete list of the 2012 grant awards under these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615) is available online at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landowner and the Service. These agreements allow a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property, even if they may impact listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.
Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisition that complements the conservation objectives of approved HCPs.
For example, a $4 million grant will support the acquisition of approximately 900 acres of land in Riverside County. This acquisition will benefit 13 federally listed species, including California gnatcatcher, Arroyo southwestern toad, and Quino checkerspot butterfly. The acquisition will support the assembly of a 500,000-acre preserve that is part of the Western Riverside Multi-species HCP by protecting large blocks of coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and grassland habitats
The HCP Planning Assistance Grants Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of HCPs through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach and similar planning activities.
For example, a $640,575 grant will support the development of an HCP/NCCP for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta (Delta) Region. The Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast and supports over 750 plant and animal species, 126 of which are threatened, endangered or sensitive. The Bay Delta HCP/NCCP is being developed as a long-term comprehensive plan that will conserve and manage covered species and natural communities in perpetuity, while providing for reliable water supplies for the State’s myriad of beneficial uses. Some of the many listed species that will benefit from this planning effort include the San Joaquin kit fox, least Bell’s vireo, California red-legged frog, and Lange’s meadowlark butterfly.
The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. Habitat acquisition to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.
One of this year’s grants will provide $300,000 for acquisition of land near Big Bear City in San Bernadino County that will complement approximately eight acres of conservation land acquired in 2008 through a previous grant. This new acquisition will protect the Shay Creek unarmored threespine stickleback population and six other listed or protected species that may be present.
The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife, and plants. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshqPacSwest , watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw .
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