Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
CONTACT: Hugh Vickery
|August 26, 2004||
Norton Announces $16 Million in Grants
to Conserve Imperiled Wildlife in 42 States
(DENVER) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced $16 million in cost-share conservation grants to private landowners and Native American tribes. The grants will support 150 projects to conserve threatened, endangered and at-risk species across the country.
"President Bush has made working in voluntary partnership with states, local communities, tribes, private landowners and others the gold standard for our conservation efforts," Norton said. "The grants we are announcing today meet that standard by empowering tribes and private citizens to do what the federal government cannot do alone - conserve habitat for imperiled species on private and tribal lands."
Norton announced the grants through three programs begun by President Bush - the Private Stewardship Grant program, the Tribal Landowner Incentive program, and the Tribal Wildlife Grant program.
The grants are being awarded in 42 states. A state-by-state list is available at www.doi.gov.
President Bush is expected to sign an executive order today that instructs federal departments and agencies such as the Interior Department to ensure that they carry out their statutory obligations in a "manner that promotes cooperative conservation, with an emphasis on appropriate inclusion of local participation in federal decision making."
Since the President took office, the Interior Department has awarded more than $1.3 billion in cooperative conservation grants to states, tribes, local governments, and private landowners through programs that restore habitat for wildlife, protect endangered species, conserve water resources, and remove noxious weeds.
More than $2.4 million of the grants awarded today support private efforts to control invasive species, one of the most serious threats to many ecosystems and their wildlife.
Under the Private Stewardship Grant program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will award $7 million in grants to support 97 projects undertaken by private landowners and groups in 39 states. The new grants will benefit species ranging from the bog turtle in the eastern United States to the O'ahu 'elepaio, an endangered forest bird in Hawaii. The recipients of the grants must contribute at least a 10 percent match in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.
"This program is modeled on a successful program developed by President Bush when he was governor of Texas," FWS director Steve Williams said. "Over the past two years, we have empowered landowners to undertake more than 200 projects that improve habitat for imperiled species on their property. The most effective conservation projects are those conceived and carried-out by the people who live and work on the land."
In Oregon, for example, the Service is awarding $53,000 to the McKenzie River Trust to restore 200 acres of oak woodlands, mixed conifer, and riparian forest habitats to benefit many species of wildlife including the Columbia white-tailed deer. In Louisiana, the Service is awarding $65,802 to the Black Bear Conservation Committee, to work with private landowners to improve habitat for the threatened Louisiana black bear.
Under the Tribal Landowner Incentive program, the Service is awarding $3 million to federally-recognized Indian tribes to help fund 25 projects. Contributions from tribes and other partners raise the total value of these projects to $4.4 million.
The grants were chosen through a competitive process to address protection, restoration and management of habitat to benefit at-risk species, including federally listed endangered or threatened species and proposed or candidate species. The maximum award under this program is $150,000 with a required minimum 25-percent match from non-federal funds.
For example, in Arizona, the Service is awarding $99,583 to the San Carlos Apache Tribe to undertake genetic, habitat-use and population studies of the threatened Mexican spotted owl on tribal land. In New Mexico, the Pueblo of Isleta will receive $150,000 to help design and construct rearing habitat for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow and enhance habitat for the Southwestern willow flycatcher.
Under the Tribal Wildlife Grant program, the Service is awarding $6 million to help fund 28 projects. Contributions from tribes and other partners increase the total value of these projects to $7.8 million.
These grants are awarded to federally-recognized Indian tribes to benefit fish, wildlife and their habitat including non-game species. Although matching funds are not required for these grants, they are considered to be an indicator of a tribe's commitment.
For example, in Maine, the Service is awarding $105,869 to the Passamaquooddy Tribe to restore native sea-run fish such as alewife and American eel in Little River and Boyden Lake by improving fish passage at the Passamaquooddy Water District Dam. The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma will receive $250,000 to establish an eagle rehabilitation program on tribal lands.
"The number of grant
requests coming from Indian Country was truly amazing," Williams
said. "The requests far exceeded available funding. Still, for
the first time, we are gaining a solid understanding of tribal wildlife
management priorities. We hope this will make us better partners for
tribes of all sizes that want to build capacity for wildlife management."
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