Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Pat Fisher, FWS
For Immediate Release: January 27, 2004
Secretary Norton Announces $14 Million in Grants to Tribes to Help Fund Fish and Wildlife Conservation Projects

(WASHINGTON) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding 79 grants, totaling nearly $14 million, to help 60 federally recognized Indian tribes conserve and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species and other wildlife on tribal lands.

The Service is awarding the grants under two new programs, the Tribal Landowner Incentive Program and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program. These programs are similar to cost-share programs recently developed by the department to assist states, local communities, private landowners and other partners undertake wildlife conservation projects.

Last year, for example, the department provided $34.8 million in grants to states under the new Landowner Incentive Program to assist private landowners in conserving and restoring the habitat of endangered species and other at-risk plants and animals on their property. The program was modeled after a successful program implemented by President Bush in Texas when he was governor.

"Native Americans have a unique relationship to and understanding of the land and its wildlife," Norton said. "As part of the President's overall Cooperative Conservation Initiative, the Interior Department is providing these grants to build on our partnership with the tribes to conserve tribal land and recover the wildlife, especially those species that are in decline."

Of the $14 million, the Service is providing about $4 million to federally recognized Indian tribes to help fund 23 projects under TLIP. Contributions from tribes and other partners raise the total value of these projects to $6.8 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 $200,000 with a required minimum 25-percent match from non-federal funds.

Meanwhile, about $10 million will help fund 56 projects under TWG. Contributions from tribes and other partners increase the total value of these projects to $12.4 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. The maximum grant award under this program is $250,000.

"Indian peoples were North America's first stewards," said FWS Director Steve Williams. "For generations, they have lived close to nature, depending on wildlife for economic, cultural, and spiritual fulfillment. The Service, through these two special grant programs, will strengthen its conservation partnerships with tribes across the United States on behalf of traditionally important wildlife species and their habitat."
Indians and Indian tribes have a controlling interest in more than 52 million acres of tribal trust lands and an additional 40 million acres held by Alaska native corporations.

"Indian country harbors vast pristine habitats, marked by a representation of an entire continental array of fish and wildlife species," said Ira New Breast, executive director of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society. "The two Service grant programs will work to further raise the capacity of Indian people to meet the dynamic challenges facing sustainable Tribal management of this country's fish and wildlife resources."

Examples of TLIP and TWG grants awarded today are as follows:

  • The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina will use its $200,000 TLIP grant to undertake a multi-year comprehensive survey of plants and vertebrate aquatic and terrestrial fauna found on the reservation, resulting in a new Natural Heritage database to benefit species of concern. People will be able to use this new information to develop resource-management plans for individual species at risk, to conduct environmentally sensitive land-use practices, and to plan future commercial/residential development.

  • The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin will use its $120,330 TWG to establish, restore, and maintain a harvestable lake sturgeon population in the Lac du Flambeau Chain of Lakes and the Bear River. Lake sturgeon is culturally significant to this Tribe and economically important to the State of Wisconsin. Since lake sturgeon are slow growing, long lived, and become sexually mature between the ages of 13-15 years old for males and 22-24 years old for females, it is estimated it will take at least 25 years to restore a sustainable population.

  • The Passamaquoddy Tribe-Indian Township Reservation of Princeton, Maine will use its $180,700 TLIP grant to survey and assess populations of the Canada lynx, gray wolf, eastern cougar and other forest carnivores of great spiritual, cultural and economic importance to the tribe. The tribe will use the new data to better manage its land for these threatened and endangered species and to provide a balance of habitats to support other forest carnivores.

  • The Shoshone and Arapahoe Joint Council, of Fort Washakie, Wyoming, will use a $190,900 TWG to help meet the wildlife management challenges on the Wind River Reservation. The Council is particularly concerned about how best to manage large predators such as grizzly bears and wolves. It also wants to create a sage grouse/sage brush management plan. The sage brush ecosystem on the Wind River Reservation encompasses some 930,000 acres and its health is vital to the long-term sustainability of not only sage grouse and sage brush, but other species that also depend on this habitat such as antelope, pygmy rabbit, sage vole, sage thrasher, sage sparrow, and brewer's sparrow.

A complete list of grants by State follows. For additional information, please visit the Service's website at:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid Program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

The following lists can be found on the DOI web page:
The Tribal Landowner Incentive Program List

Tribal Wildlife Grants List


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