Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Hugh Vickery or Mark Pfeifle
|For Immediate Release: September 16, 2003||
Secretary Norton Announces $12.9 Million in Grants
To Support Conservation in 40 States and Puerto Rico
Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that the department has awarded $12.9 million in cost-share grants under President Bush's Cooperative Conservation Initiative to complete 256 conservation projects in conjunction with states, local communities, businesses, landowners, and other partners.
The grants from the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National
Park Service will fund a wide range of conservation projects ranging
from restoring wetland prairie habitat in Oregon to restoring forested
wetlands damaged by a tornado in Maryland to building water catchments
for endangered bighorn sheep in New Mexico.
A state-by-state breakout
of the grants announced by Norton today is available on the Interior
Department web site, www.doi.gov/cci/
President Bush proposed the challenge cost-share grants as a tool for federal land managers to use in creating cooperative conservation projects. Congress included the $12.9 million as part of the existing challenge cost-share budgets of each of the agencies.
In Oregon, for example, BLM is providing a $150,000 grant that will allow the city of Eugene and other partners to re-establish a historic mosaic of wetlands and upland prairie near the city, providing habitat for the Fender's blue butterfly, migratory birds, and other species of wildlife. The partners are contributing $525,000 to the project in matching funds.
In Maryland, the Fish and Wildlife Service is providing a grant to help the state work with local partners to restore 50 acres of forested wetland at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge that was heavily damaged by a tornado in 2002. The refuge provides important habitat for a variety of bird species as well as the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel.
In New Mexico, BLM is providing
a grant to the state and a variety of private partners to construct
two1,800-gallon water catchments that will provide water to desert bighorn
sheep in the Peloncillo Mountains. Although desert bighorn sheep are
adapted to desert environments, human encroachment, invasive weeds and
other factors have reduced their access to water. The catchments will
reduce mortality, especially during droughts, and help the species recover.
"The most effective
conservation projects are the ones that are conceived and carried out
at the local level, by the people who live and work on the land,"
Norton said. "While the nation's banner environmental regulations
have helped protect endangered species and move us toward cleaner air
and healthier landscapes, frequently the biggest building blocks for
sustainable conservation have come from citizens, working alone and
in partnerships. Our goal is to empower the American people to become
citizen-conservationists, working together to achieve what the government
alone cannot achieve."
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