Department Of Interior
|OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Contact:Patricia Fisher, 202-208-5634
|For Immediate Release: July 11, 2003
Don Morgan, 703-358-2061
Secretary Norton Announces 70 Million in Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species
Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced more than $70 million in grants to 29 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife, and plant species. The grants will benefit species ranging from the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in the Southeast to the threatened spectacled eider in Alaska. Funded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and authorized by Section 6 of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the grants will enable States, working in partnership with private landowners, conservation groups and other agencies and organizations to initiate conservation planning efforts, and to acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
"Today's grant awards recognize the important work that States and their partners are doing to conserve and recover threatened and endangered species," Norton said. "Grants are an important tool in our efforts to empower local governments and citizens as they seek to develop voluntary conservation partnerships that provide real benefits to listed species."
The Section 6 grant programs include the $6.6 million Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, the $51.1 million Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and the $12.7 million Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help reduce potential conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species and land development and use.
" As someone who has worked for decades at the State and local level on behalf of wildlife conservation, I know these grants really help," said Fish and Wildlife Service director Steve Williams. "They provide not only a financial boost to grantees but also encouragement by supporting on-the-ground efforts."
Under the Habitat Conservation
Plan Land Acquisition Program, the Service provides grants to States
or Territories for land acquisitions associated with approved Habitat
Conservation Plans (HCPs). Grants do not fund any mitigation required
of an HCP permittee, but are instead intended to support acquisitions
by the State or local governments that complement actions associated
with the HCP.
A Habitat Conservation Plan is an agreement between a landowner and the Service that allows the landowner to incidentally take a threatened or endangered species in the course of otherwise lawful activities when the landowner agrees to conservation measures to minimize and mitigate the impact of the taking. A Habitat Conservation Plan may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species. There are more than 330 Habitat Conservation Plans currently in effect covering approximately 30 million acres, and some 320 more are being developed.
In Riverside County, California, a $6.25 million grant will enable the State and its partners to acquire and protect important interconnected habitat to support the Western Riverside Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). This HCP will cover more than 100 Federal and State listed species, including the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher, endangered least Bell's vireo and Stephen's kangaroo rat. The plant communities found in the area, such as Riversidean sage scrub and riparian habitat are representative of the original, native habitats of the region. Preserving these areas as open space will also enable them to be used for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and mountain biking.
The Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Program provides grants to States and Territories to support the development of Habitat Conservation Plans, through funding of baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach, and similar planning activities.
In northern Idaho, a $563,000 HCP Planning Assitance Grant will help the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) work with the Service and other stakeholders to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan to minimize any impacts of IDL activities to listed species. The HCP will provide conservation benefits to listed threatened and endangered species, including grizzly bear, bull trout, lynx, and the critically endangered woodland caribou, while providing the State of Idaho with assurances that important land management practices can continue. Both Idaho and the species will benefit from this HCP. IDL will be able to fulfill its mandate to maximize the long term return from these endowment lands to the beneficiaries with certainty regarding compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and the conservation of listed species will be enhanced.
The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories for acquisition of habitat for endangered and threatened species in support of approved recovery plans. Acquisition of habitat to secure long term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species.
For example, a grant of nearly $1.7 million will enable the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Nature Conservancy to acquire portions of the Kyles Ford mussel shoal along the Clinch River, an area believed to be among the most biologically diverse endangered mussel habitats on Earth. The parcel that will be acquired is home to 10 Federally endangered mussel species. By acquiring property along the river corridor, instituting buffer strips, stabilizing stream banks and preventing runoff and sedimentation, this project will mark a significant step in efforts to permanently protect the Clinch River, its habitats, and fauna, and to recover these rare mussel species.
For more information on the 2003 grant awards for these programs see the Service's Endangered Species home page at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/index.html.
Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants by State:
· Colton Substation HCP (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, CA) - A $2,156,675 grant will enable the acquisition and protection of portions of the Colton Dune ecosystem, unique to this region of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Approximately two percent of the Colton Dune ecosystem still exists. The acquisition will permanently conserve habitat occupied by a suite of federally and State listed species endemic to the area, including the federally endangered Delhi Sands flower-loving fly, threatened coastal California gnatcatcher, Los Angeles pocket mouse, and western burrowing owl. These lands are critical for the survival and recovery of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly and the many other species that occur within this ecosystem.
· San Mateo, Ohlone Shell Mound Site, San Bruno Mountain HCP (San Mateo County, CA) - An $860,000 grant award will be used for the acquisition of the Preservation Parcel on San Bruno Mountain to protect 26 acres of high-value endangered species habitat and an ancient cultural site in perpetuity. The Preservation Parcel contains habitat for the federally endangered Callippe silverspot butterfly, a butterfly restricted in range to San Bruno Mountain. The site also offers the potential to be a recovery site for two additional butterfly species. The acquisition of the Preservation Parcel will compliment the San Bruno Mountain HCP and assist in the conservation of the endangered butterflies and native ecosystems.
· Sloan Canyon - San
Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (San Diego County, CA) -
$4,875,000 grant will enable project partners to acquire important habitat
along the Sweetwater River in Sloan Canyon downstream from Loveland
Reservoir. The San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)
identifies this property, which includes 17 parcels totaling approximately
876 acres, as linking habitat for numerous threatened and endangered
species covered by the plan, while simultaneously providing core areas
for several sensitive biological resources. The parcels are known to
support several pairs of threatened California gnatcatchers and a significant
population of endangered arroyo toads. While located within the County
of San Diego's MSCP sub-area plan, the property has an approved permit
for a sand mine that predates development of the MSCP. Acquisition of
this property will greatly enhance the County's preserve, while preventing
development of the sand mine and eliminating the threat it poses to
an area that supports approximately 30 of the 85 species covered by
· Plum Creek Thompson-Fisher and Bull River/Lake Lands, Montana (Flathead and Sanders Counties, MT) - A $1 million grant will enable project partners to purchase a conservation easement on 4,400 acres of Plum Creek Timber lands in the Thompson River Valley to maintain the fish and wildlife habitat values and public access to 86,000 acres of corporate timberland in perpetuity while allowing for continued commercial timber harvest and other consistent resource management activities. The conservation easement would maintain or improve current fish and wildlife values by removing the threat of subdivision and development and protect in perpetuity prime habitat for the grizzly bear, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, Canada lynx, bald eagles, golden eagles, black bears, mountain lion, fisher, upland game birds, and big game ungulates including moose, elk, white-tail deer, mule deer and, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. These lands are contiguous with 34,824 acres of conservation easement lands acquired with grant funds obtained in 2001 and 2002.
· Bexar County Karst Invertebrate Habitat Preserve (Bexar County) - A $3.5 million grant will be used to acquire 855 acres around La Cantera's Canyon Ranch Karst Preserve that will enhance and complement the long-term preservation and viability of three endangered karst invertebrates in three caves within the preserve as well as endangered karst invertebrates in four caves on the acquisition tract. The property also hosts the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. This tract is adjacent to Government Canyon State Natural Area and the City of San Antonio's Iron Horse tract purchased, for Edwards aquifer recharge. Preservation of this acreage will bring the total contiguous, undeveloped land to approximately 11,000 acres, which will benefit eight other sensitive species dependent upon the aquatic ecosystems of the Edwards Aquifer.
· Washington County Utah Desert Tortoise Reserve (Washington County, UT) - An $8,348,525 grant will enable project partners to purchase of up to ten parcels of Mojave desert tortoise habitat to ensure the viability of a reserve created as mitigation under the Washington County, Utah HCP. The reserve, vital to the long term survival and recovery of the desert tortoise, also benefits additional species, including six federally listed species such as the bald eagle, southwestern willow flycatcher, Virgin River chub, woundfin, dwarf bear poppy, and silar pincushion cactus, one proposed endangered plant, the Shivwits milkvetch, and at least two dozen species of concern. The purchase of these pristine parcels will significantly reduce habitat fragmentation in the reserve.
· Cedar River Watershed HCP (King County, WA) - A $1.5 million grant will ensure the protection of 300 acres of riparian habitat along a corridor on the Cedar River, near the city of Seattle. Acquisition of numerous parcels from willing sellers will extend conservation benefits from the protected upper watershed, which supplies Seattle's drinking water, down through the lower third of the watershed, where development pressure intensifies. Salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout and bald eagles, as well as other resident wildlife will benefit from the acquisition of these habitats, which represent the best of what remains in the rapidly-urbanizing lower Cedar River watershed. Partners include King County, Seattle Public Utilities, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Public Utilities, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
· Washington Department of Natural Resources HCP (Washington State) - A $9,959,400 grant will help the Washington Department of Natural Resources and other partners acquire more than 3,400 acres of mature conifer forest on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, providing benefits to many fish and wildlife species. Northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, bald eagles, bull trout, and salmon all use the lands to be acquired. Protection of these lands for conservation will provide linkages between high quality habitats, protect nesting murrelets and owls, and expand protection from already-conserved areas.
· Yakima River Wildlife Corridor - Phase II (Kittitas County, WA) - A $1,849,720 grant will be used by a partnership including the Cascades Conservation Partnership, the Trust for Public Lands, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to acquire and protect more than 1140 acres of mature riparian and conifer forests in the Cascade Mountain Range, along Snoqualmie Pass. Habitat acquisition achieved by this project will help ensure the protection of habitats necessary for wildlife movement across Interstate 90.
· City of Tucson HCP (Pima County, AZ) - A $327,990 grant will help the City of Tucson develop an HCP through a collaborative conservation planning effort for more than 45,000 acres within the city's jurisdiction in Southeast Tucson, along the Santa Cruz River corridor and for extra-territorial holdings of the Tucson Water Department in the Avra Valley west of the city. The plan, critical to the conservation and recovery of the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl and Pima pineapple cactus, will also provide for the connection of habitat for vulnerable species and improvement of conservation for riparian species associated with the Santa Cruz River. The planning area spans the boundary separating Pima County, Marana, and the Tohono O'odham Nation in southern Arizona and includes multiple landowners, both public and private.
· Town of Marana HCP (Pima and Pinal Counties, AZ) - A $134,990 grant will enable a total of 13 partners, including the Town of Marana, Pima County and the Arizona State Land Department, to continue development of an HCP to complement other important regional conservation planning efforts. The primarily Sonoran desert scrub planning area encompasses approximately 200,000 acres, and includes varied topography ranging from the effluent-fed Santa Cruz River, with its cottonwood-willow riparian forest and emergent wetlands, to the Tortolita Mountains, a vertical rise of 2,800 feet from the river. Marana's plan will be critical in the conservation and recovery of the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. Within the 75,000-acre town boundaries, more than 50 percent of the land has been proposed as Critical Habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, and additional lands within the town are included within proposed Recovery Units for the owl. Aside from the pygmy-owl, there are 24 other species being considered for inclusion on the Section 10 permit associated with the HCP.
· East Contra Costa HCP (Contra Costa County, CA) - A $100,000 grant will enable project partners to develop an HCP to benefit the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, threatened California red-legged frog, and many other declining species found in the area. Their survival in this rapidly developing area depends upon the protection of large blocks of contiguous habitat. This HCP provides the opportunity to plan urban development in such a manner as to provide habitat for sensitive species and open space for residents.
· Kern County Valley Floor HCP (Kern County, CA) - A $90,000 grant will be used by this partnership to develop the Kern Valley Floor HCP, which proposes to include approximately 1.9 million acres on the San Joaquin Valley floor. Among the 28 covered species are several protected by the Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act, including the San Joaquin kit fox, two kangaroo rat species, Bakersfield cactus, and Kern mallow. As planned, the HCP should allow most urban development activities, normal oil and gas exploration and development activities to occur. Using weighted habitat values will encourage potential development within low value habitat while mitigating impacts on high value habitat. Habitat credits based on habitat value are created by willing participants, who may then sell those credits to project proponents seeking mitigation credits. proponents seeking mitigation credits.
· Sandhills Regional HCP (Santa Cruz County, CA) - A $100,000 grant will provide funding to the County of Santa Cruz and City of Scotts Valley to complete Phase 2 of the development of the Sandhills Regional HCP in Santa Cruz County, California. The project will result in the development of a conservation strategy for the Sandhills ecosystem to benefit numerous Federal and State-listed species, including the Mount Hermon June beetle, Zayante band-winged grasshopper, Ben Lomond spineflower and Ben Lomond wallflower. The HCP will identify ways to conserve Sandhills habitat for listed species in perpetuity as well as sites for mitigating impacts from development. In addition, the HCP will outline the development of a program for monitoring and managing listed species in the area, and institute a streamlined and more cost-effective permitting process for development projects proposed by landowners.
· Santa Clara County HCP/NCCP (Santa Clara County, CA) - A $300,000 grant will enable Santa Clara County to initiate a countywide HCP/NCCP. The first phase of the project is being undertaken in partnership with the City of San Jose, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, with potential involvement from other cities in the southern portion of the county. Santa Clara County has experienced enormous population growth over the past 50 years and is continuing to experience growth pressures which pose a threat to more than 100 endangered, threatened, and other rare species. The HCP/NCCP will provide a comprehensive approach to conservation and management of multiple species across the 841,000-acre county, including preservation of much of the remaining habitat for several federally listed species, establishment of habitat preserves, habitat restoration, and streamlined regulatory permitting processes.
· Shasta Plains HCP/NCCP (Shasta County, CA) - A $200,000 grant award will support the development of an HCP to cover approximately 250 square miles in southern-central Shasta County. Vernal pools in the Shasta plains region provide valuable habitat for a host of rare and sensitive vernal pool species, including several federally listed species. Many of the remaining vernal pools occur on privately owned lands and are vulnerable to loss and degradation. This HCP will protect the vernal pools, riparian habitat and stream corridors, and oak woodlands, while providing the development community with a streamlined permitting process.
· Solano HCP/NCCP (Solano and Yolo Counties, CA) - A $100,000 grant, will help in the development of the Solano HCP/NCCP, which proposes to cover approximately 900 square miles, including all of Solano County and a small portion of Yolo County. The HCP/NCCP proposes to cover a minimum of 36 species, 17 of which are federally threatened or endangered. Vernal pool, grassland, riparian, and marsh habitats comprise a large portion of the planning area which is under intense development pressure. This HCP/NCCP will protect existing habitat, restore degraded habitats, and contribute to responsible planning for the expected and mandated growth of four major cities within Solano County.
· West Mojave Plan HCP (Yuba and Sutter Counties, CA) - A $300,000 grant will provide funding to assist the development of an HCP associated with the 9.4 million-acre West Mojave Plan, in San Bernardino, Kern, Los Angeles and Inyo Counties. The Service is consulting with the Bureau of Land Management to minimize impacts to listed species on Bureau of Land Management lands in the western Mojave Desert of California, while developing an HCP to cover non-Federal lands in that area.. Funding will help project partners finalize conservation strategies for protecting listed species, enabling them to delineate boundaries for desert wildlife management areas, develop protection strategies for species in these areas, and implement the final management plan. Development of the West Mojave Plan and its associated HCP will benefit numerous local agencies and private landowners in the western Mojave Desert by promoting a streamlined permitting process. The funding would also benefit the State and federally threatened desert tortoise, the State threatened Mojave ground squirrel, and approximately 50 additional covered species, as well as the ecosystem upon which many other non-listed species depend.
· Yuba-Sutter HCP (Yuba and Sutter Counties, CA) - A $200,000 grant will help project partners develop an HCP to protect vernal pool plants and animals currently listed as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act, as well as other sensitive species in this area. Yuba and Sutter counties are currently undergoing development pressure as Sacramento County becomes more populated. The primarily agricultural landscape of Yuba and Sutter Counties is attractive to both developers and home buyers, and development of an HCP will also help maintain agricultural activities such as grazing that are beneficial to several sensitive species.
· Development of an HCP for the Bog Turtle and Other Wetland Species of Concern in the Southern Portion of the Delaware West Recovery Subunit (Chester County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware) - A $595,482 grant will help develop a comprehensive, large-scale HCP for the southern portion of the Delaware West Recovery Subunit, encompassing significant portions of Chester County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware. The HCP will benefit the threatened bog turtle and other wetland species of concern, by identifying bog turtle recovery areas in the HCP planning region.
· Etowah River Basin (Cherokee, Lumpkin, Pickens, and Forsyth Counties, Georgia) $355,634 - A $355,634 grant will help develop a comprehensive habitat conservation plan covering the Etowah River basin allowing county and municipal development agencies to authorize projects while contributing to the conservation of numerous aquatic species in the Etowah River basin.
· Greater Priest Lake Multi Species HCP (Bonner and Boundary counties, ID) - A $563,000 grant will assist the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as they work with other stakeholders to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan to minimize the impact of any IDL activity in northern Idaho on listed species. The HCP will provide conservation benefits to listed threatened and endangered species, including grizzly bear, bull trout, lynx, and the critically endangered woodland caribou, while providing the State of Idaho with assurances of immunity for any "take" of these species that might occur incidentally to its lawful activities. Both Idaho and the species will benefit from this HCP. The IDL will be able to fulfill its mandate to maximize the long term return from these endowment lands to the beneficiaries without fear of violating the Endangered Species Act, and the conservation of listed species will be enhanced.
· Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway HCP (Glacier and Flathead Counites, MT) - A $75,000 grant will help fund development and implementation of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway HCP, providing a unique opportunity to benefit a large number of species in a geographic area that includes a wild and scenic river corridor and is adjacent to Glacier National Park and the Great Bear Wilderness. While the emphasis is on minimizing and mitigating the effects of railroad operations on grizzly bears, these efforts will also minimize effects on other predators including gray wolves, Canada lynx, bobcats, wolverines, black bear, and mountain lions. Additionally, efforts to enhance habitat will benefit a variety of other species including bald eagles, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, beaver, mink, otter and waterfowl. This HCP will foster existing positive working relationship among industry, governmental and conservation interests that was developed through the formation of the Great Northern Environmental Stewardship Area.
· Barton Springs / Edwards Aquuifer Conservation District HCP (Hays and Travis Counties, TX)- A $316,000 grant will assist the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (the District), a groundwater conservation district mandated to conserve, protect, and enhance the groundwater resources of the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards aquifer. By preparing the Environmental Impact Statement and developing and implementing the regional HCP the District will identify the effects of groundwater pumping on the Barton Springs and Austin blind salamanders and set forth comprehensive measures to minimize and mitigate for those impacts, including incidental take, as a result of permitted pumpage. The District, together with plan partners, through this regional HCP, hopes to secure the survival and recovery of the Barton Springs and Austin blind salamanders, and also provide protection and security for the Balcones cave and bifurcated cave amphipods as well as the Edwards Aquifer diving beetle.
· Williamson County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan (Williamson County, TX)- A $200,000 grant will be used to assist the Williamson County Karst Foundation in developing a regional HCP for the conservation of 9 species, including 5 endangered species, 1 candidate, and 3 other rare animal and plant species, found in Williamson County, one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. Habitat protection for listed and rare species therefore is essential to the conservation of the listed and rare species found in that county. Of the three endangered karst invertebrates included in the proposal, two of the species occur in only one other county outside of Williamson County and one species occurs only in Williamson County. Since very few caves and their associated ecosystems have been preserved in perpetuity for any of the three species, preservation of lands under the HCP that provide perpetual protection and management of caves containing these species will contribute to their recovery and potential downlisting. Preservation of high quality habitat in Williamson County will remove threats associated with suburban development and benefit all of the listed and rare species proposed to be covered under the HCP.
· Broughton Land Company Native Fish HCP (Columbia County, WA) - A $24,200 grant will be used to help finalize the development of an HCP covering more than 38,000 acres of farm, forest, and range lands in eastern Washington state. These privately owned lands contain several miles of streams supporting bull trout, steelhead, and chinook salmon. HCP conservation measures will improve stream and riparian conditions.
· Dungeness CIDMP/HCP
(Clallam and Jefferson counties, WA) - A $70,000 grant will help project
partners develop an HCP associated with a pilot Comprehensive Irrigation
District Management Plan (CIDMP). Together, the CIDMP and the HCP will
provide conservation benefits for federally listed fish while meeting
the long-term water needs of irrigation districts. Significant aquatic
habitat improvements would be realized through improvements to irrigation
infrastructure, operations, and maintenance, which would result in increased
· Washington Forests and Fish HCP (Statewide) - A $1,127,047 grant will be used to complete the HCP planning process. This HCP would result in obtaining federal assurances for Washington State's forest practices rules. Conservation benefits are expected for aquatic and riparian species on 10.3 million acres of non-federal forest lands.
· Washington State Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance (Statewide) - A $121,304 grant, will support an HCP planning effort, funded in part by activities undertaken in both fresh and saltwater areas regulated and leased by Washington State's Department of Natural Resources, covering more than 2.4 million acres in 39 counties. The HCP has the potential to complement riparian and aquatic protection provided by state forest practices rules, and to ensure environmental protection while encouraging direct public use and access of aquatic lands.
· West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel and Cheat Mountain Salamander HCP at Snowshoe Mountain Resort (Pocahontas County) - An $84,880 grant will help fund development of an HCP to benefit the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel and Cheat Mountain Salamander. The project will determine the presence or absence of the West Virginia northern flying squirrel along the western slope of Cheat Mountain; develop a habitat quality ranking and define the breeding season for West Virginia northern flying squirrels at Snowshoe; survey for the Cheat Mountain salamander in areas covered by the focused HCP; identify and evaluate potential translocation sites for the salamander; and use satellite imagery of Snowshoe to identify squirrel and salamander habitat.
· Spectacled Eider Nesting Habitat Protection Project (Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta) - A $178,446 grant will support acquisition of conservation easements or fee title to approximately 2,000 acres of high quality spectacled eider nesting habitat on privately owned parcels within designated critical habitat on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, in western Alaska. Spectacled eider populations on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta declined by 96 percent between the 1970's-1990's. The coastal fringe of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta provides the species' highest density breeding habitat. Acquisition of easements or title to key private inholdings within this coastal fringe will improve management of lands under diverse ownership, minimize the threat of habitat fragmentation, and aid public-private efforts to reduce impacts to nesting habitat from use of all-terrain vehicles. This project is intended to be a catalyst for a large-scale waterfowl and wetlands protection effort.
· Hayhook Ranch (Pima County, AZ) - A $353,478 grant will help acquire and protect a corridor of habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. The 839-acre acquisition provides nesting habitat and allows pygmy owls to move between the Tohono O'odham Nation and the Coyote Mountain Wilderness Area. The 839 acre parcel occurs within Recovery Area 1 of the pygmy owl's draft Recovery Plan. The proposed acquisition may also provide foraging habitat for the endangered lesser long-nosed bat and as many as fifteen Priority Vulnerable Species that could occur on the property.
· Pondberry and red-cockaded woodpecker land acquisition (Clay, Jackson, Monroe Counties) - A $288,930 grant will provide funding for targeted land acquisitions harboring populations of endangered pondberry where they currently have no protection, and will also provide a buffer to protect a large population at the Stateline Sand Ponds Natural Area. The recovery plan for the pondberry lists 36 extant populations distributed in 6 states. The major threat to the continued existence of pondberry is alteration or destruction of its habitat through land clearing, drainage modification, or timber harvesting. Additional habitat will be protected at the Pine City Headwater Swamp Conservation Area for potential reestablishment efforts. Acquisition of additional lands in Arkansas suitable to support stable populations of pondberry and/or to provide buffers to currently protected populations will be important to the recovery of this plant and will protect it from further loss of habitat. The acquisitions will also protect the last remaining breeding group of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain population of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and provide it with the potential for population growth.
· Buena Vista Property (Santa Cruz County) - A $540,215 grant will help project partners, including the Service, California Department of Fish and Game and the Trust for Public Lands, acquire and protect 187 acres in Santa Cruz County. The acquisition will protect one of only eleven breeding ponds of the long-toed salamander and help connect habitat that supports another population at the nearby Ellicott Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander State Ecological Reserve. It also provides habitat for one of the larger of only seven populations of the robust spineflower, and for the California tiger salamander, a candidate species.
· Kanaka III/Gabbro Soil Plant Habitat (El Dorado County) - A $465,000 grant will enable project partners acquire 247 acres in the central Sierra Nevada foothills of California. The acquisition falls within the approximately 5,000-acre conceptual boundary of the Pine Hill Preserve and will help prevent many endangered and threatened plant species from declining irreversibly due to the conversion of habitat to urban uses. The remaining natural communities are highly fragmented and depend on marginal habitat. Partners include the Service, California Department of Fish and Game, American Rivers Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management and El Dorado County.
· La Sierra Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains (Los Angeles County)- A $450,000 grant will enable the Service, California Department of Fish and Game, and the Mountains Restoration Trust to acquire 91 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. This biologically diverse, prime land provides habitat for important plants including the endangered Lyon's pentachaeta and threatened marcescent dudleya, as well as four State listed birds. The acquisition will connect major park holdings from Topanga State Park, Point Mugu State Park and Malibu Creek State Park and is part of an ongoing multi-agency effort to protect critically important habitats in the Santa Monica Mountains.
· Yreka Phlox at China Hills (Siskiyou County) - A $122,000 grant will help acquire and protect 35 acres that provide important habitat for federally endangered Yreka phlox. The objective of the acquisition of these three parcels is to conserve the China Hill population of the Yreka phlox, a plant that is also protected by the State of California. The China Hill population is one of only four known occurrences of this species. Partners include the Service, California Department of Fish and Game, the City of Yreka, and private landowners.
· Warm Mineral Springs Creek Protection Program (Sarasota County) - A $455,835 grant will help acquire lands adjacent to Warm Mineral Springs Creek and identify management procedures to protect the endangered West Indian manatees that use the area as a refuge. Acquisition of a 32.5 acre parcel will allow the County to control access and protect manatees within the creek and its critical warm water refuge. The site is a winter/cold weather refuge for up to 100 manatees. It is one of the largest refuges in southwest Florida and possibly the only naturally occurring mineral spring. The manatee recovery plan identifies land adjacent to Warm Mineral Spring in Sarasota County as property that should be considered for acquisition due to its importance as manatee habitat. The surrounding scrubby flatwoods support foraging habitat for gopher tortoises and Florida scrub-jays. Several listed plant species occur, including the golden leather fern, bromeliads, and the Florida coontie.
· Mitchell's satyr habitat - Grand River Fen (Hillsdale and Jackson Counties) -A $375,000 grant will enable project partners including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy of Michigan to acquire and protect 154 acres adjacent to the Grand River Fen Preserve located in south-central Michigan. The site provides excellent habitat for the endangered Mitchell's satyr, as well as additional globally rare species including the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, a candidate for ESA protection; tamarack tree cricket; blazing star borer; Powesheik skipper; spotted turtle, and others. This purchase will increase the management and protection of habitat to a total of 630 acres for these species, connect parcels currently owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, and increase the lands within the primary protection boundary for the Preserve.
· Indiana and Gray Bat Cave Acquisition (Laclede County) - A $60,000 grant will be used by the Missouri Department of Conservation to acquire 52 acres surrounding a cave located in south-central Missouri's Ozark region. The cave provides important shelter for a maternal colony of gray bats and functions as a hibernation site for wintering Indiana bats. The cave has about one-half mile of mapped passages; future exploration of the cave system will yield additional biodiversity information. It is expected that the acquisition of this cave will provide additional recovery actions that will assist in the downlisting of gray bats from endangered to threatened status.
· Ozark cavefish land acquisition (Newton County, MO) - A $80,000 grant award will help the Missouri Department of Conservation acquire a one-acre inholding within the Capps Creek Conservation Area. This property is located within 100 yards of a state-owned well that was recently discovered to harbor threatened Ozark cavefish. The acquisition costs also include planting vegetation, site clean-up, and well capping.
· Lockes Ranch(Nye County) - A $900,000 grant will help secure key habitats essential for recovery of the threatened Railroad Valley springfish. The acquisition of 460 acres in Nye County will protect source pools and/or outflows for three major spring systems containing identified recovery populations and critical habitat for the springfish. Project partners include the Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife and the BLM.
· Karner blue butterfly
& Prairie Peninsula/Lake Plain bog turtle habitat acquisition (Saratoga
County) - A $347,381 grant will help project partners including the
Nature Conservancy and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
acquire and protect Saratoga West and Saratoga Sandplains properties.
Acquisition of these parcels will significantly advance Karner blue
butterfly recovery and open-space conservation efforts in New York.
· Land Acquisition for American Burying Beetle (Lincoln County) -A $252,000 grant will enable the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to acquire and protect 670 acres of important prairie grassland habitat to benefit populations of American burying beetle. This area of Nebraska harbors one of the largest populations of burying beetles in the nation. The project acquisition will also serve as a demonstration site for prairie management to encourage similar improvements by neighboring private landowners. Protection of this habitat also provides significant benefits for prairie grasslands and declining grassland birds.
· Acquisition of the Beck Tract (Onslow County) - A $556,150 grant will help acquire 2,432 acres of longleaf pine habitat to provide perpetual protection to an essential habitat corridor linking two forested sections of Camp Lejune. The acquisition will provide foraging habitat and future nesting habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW). Having this parcel under appropriate management will also facilitate RCW recovery efforts on the base by preventing further encroachment and land use conversion. The area has been identified as having good foraging habitat and having potential to provide good nesting habitat within 30 to 40 years. Protection of this habitat will enable project partners, including the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Nature Conservancy and U.S. Marine Corps, to establish additional breeding groups within the area's primary core recovery population and to create a more contiguous land mass for this population. This proposed site also has a good probability of supporting the rough leaved loosestrife. Camp Lejeune is listed as one of the nine known population centers for this endangered plant in its recovery plan.
· Conservation of Critical Habitat at Missouri/Yellowstone River Confluence (McKenzie County) - A $250,000 grant will enable the North Dakota Game and Fish Dept, American Foundation for Wildlife, The Conservation Fund and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust acquire approximately 1,387 acres at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers to protect and enhance habitat for the endangered pallid sturgeon. This land represents the last stronghold and best remaining habitat for the pallid sturgeon, one of strongest populations of paddlefish, and strong populations of sicklefin and sturgeon chub, and will improve management opportunities for least terns and piping plover.
· Asher Farm Tract - Clinch River (Hancock County) - A $1.685 million grant will help acquire and protect a significant portion of the shoal along the Clinch River at Kyles Ford, which harbors the most diverse mussel community in Tennessee. The Clinch River is one of the last major strongholds of Cumberlandian mussel fauna, and the Nature Conservancy's scientific planning process has identified Kyles Ford mussel shoal as the most biologically diverse, endangered mussel habitat on Earth. The 850-acre parcel that will be acquired is home to 10 federally listed mussel species. By acquiring property along the river corridor, instituting buffer strips, stabilizing stream banks and preventing runoff and sedimentation, this project will mark a significant step in efforts to permanently protect the Clinch River, its habitats, and fauna. The acquisition includes almost 3 miles of river front and 850 acres of adjacent riparian frontage to the Clinch River.
· Large-flowered skullcap Land Acquisition (Hamilton County) - A $562,500 grant will help acquire a large tract of land along the Cumberland Plateau stream gorge that harbors populations and habitat for the threatened Virginia spiraea, large-flowered skullcap, and bald eagle. The parcel will connect to an even larger area of conservation lands, including a Forest Legacy project area and the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area. The acquisition encompasses approximately 1,500 acres of privately owned timber land that has been protected voluntarily as a Registered State Natural Area. In 2001, a total of 321 plants was found in two populations of large-flowered skullcap. In 2002, a total of 1,005 plants was found in four populations. Placing this property in public ownership will help the Service reach its recovery goals and will likely contribute to the future delisting of this plant.
· Peterson Ranch (Kendall County) - A $252,300 grant will enable the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Nature Conservancy of Texas, Bexar Land Trust, Environmental Defense and a private landowner to protect 150 acres through a conservation easement. The acquisition funded by the grant is adjacent to the 500 acre Peterson Ranch, currently managed for endangered black capped vireo and the subject property of a draft Safe Harbor Agreement. This parcel will expand management opportunities to the total 650 acres, allowing for a greater variety of management techniques such as prescribed burns to be employed. The acquisition will be used as a showcase to encourage conservation on private lands by providing a demonstration of proper management techniques and compatible land uses. In addition, the proposed parcel contains golden-cheeked warbler habitat, and golden-cheeks have been documented on the adjacent Peterson Ranch. By providing a successional mosaic of forest types for the black-capped vireo habitat will continue to grow into suitability for this endangered warbler.
· Purchase of Virginia sneezeweed habitat (Augusta County) - A $206,054 grant will help project partners purchase two tracts of land totaling approximately 120 acres at Mt. Joy Church Pond in Augusta County, Virginia. These parcels will be dedicated as a state natural area preserve. State natural area preserves are protected in perpetuity and managed to maintain and restore natural processes and the native species and natural communities on site. The benefit of this project will be to protect and manage one of the largest and most viable population of the threatened Virginia sneezeweed.
· Purchase of Virginia big-eared and Indiana bat habitat (Tazewell County) - A $56,362 grant will enable the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the West Virginia Cave Conservancy to complete the acquisition of two caves and an uphill site that encompasses the watershed for surface drainage into the caves. It will provide permanent protection for a major Virginia big-eared bat hibernation and maternity cave, and will also protect a colony of hibernating Indiana bats. This is a major step towards recovery efforts and will help in the reclassification of the Virginia big-eared bat.
· Asotin Creek (Asotin County) - A $600,000 grant will help the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation acquire and protect 8,500 acres of quality steppe grassland and 5.5 miles of riparian habitat in southeastern Washington. This strategic acquisition, surrounded by federal and State lands, will contribute to the implementation of recovery plans for threatened bull trout, bald eagle, and other species. It will also benefit chinook salmon, Columbia spotted frog and the State-listed sharp-tailed grouse.
· Ebey's Landing (Island County) - A $1.5 million grant will help fund a land acquisition that will result in the permanent protection of one of the last eleven golden paintbrush populations in the world. The 33-acre site is one of the three largest extant habitats for this species, with the greatest potential for meeting recovery goals for the species. Threats to the species are imminent. Project partners include the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, Washington Natural Heritage Program, and Department of Natural Resources.
· Habitat acquisition for the flat-spired three-toothed land snail (Monongalia, Preston Counties) - A $295,485 grant will support the acquisition of an additional 500 acres of habitat for the federally threatened flat-spired three-toothed land snail and add that habitat to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources's existing Snakehill Wildlife Management Area. This land is currently occupied by the snail and will be managed to protect and conserve the species.
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