The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today two grants to support conservation planning in Pennsylvania and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered animals in West Virginia.

In Preston County, West Virginia, $700,000 will help acquire habitat for the threatened flat-spired three-toothed land snail and the endangered Indiana bat. In Pennsylvania, $600,000 will support state agencies’ efforts to address forest land management activities on state lands to benefit the Indiana bats and other bats.

Awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the grants are part of $33 million to fund projects in 21 states benefiting numerous species, from the Peninsular bighorn sheep to Kirtland’s warbler.

“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.”

$700,000 grant will support land acquisition for W.Va. endangered species

In Preston County, West Virginia, funds will go to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to help acquire habitat for the threatened flat-spired three-toothed land snail and the endangered Indiana bat. WVDNR has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, and other non-governmental organizations to acquire land that expands an existing protected block of forest along the Cheat River Gorge. This property provides about 33 percent of the global range of the threatened snail and includes hibernacula for the endangered Indiana bat.

$600,000 grant will support conservation planning for Penn. state agencies

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will use this funding to develop a habitat conservation plan addressing forest land management activities on state lands to benefit bat species across the state. The draft plan is a requirement for an application for a federal endangered species permit, called an incidental take permit, addressing impacts to the endangered Indiana bat.

The plan will cover impacts to the Indiana bat on the 1.4 million acres of state game lands, the 2.2 million acres of state forests, and the 295,000 acres of state parks. The total 3.8 million acres of largely forested land provides potential foraging, roosting, maternity colony and fall swarming habitat for all bat species that occur in Pennsylvania.

The conservation plan and related environmental analysis will evaluate the impacts of forest management practices on Indiana bats and use that information to develop a strategy to minimize and mitigate those impacts. The evaluation may also include other bats, such as the little brown bat, eastern small-footed bat, northern long-eared bat and the tri-colored bat, that have experienced rapid declines due to white-nose syndrome.

Logo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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