Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Embargoed Until 11 a.m Saturday
May 13, 2006
Hugh Vickery, DOI
(202) 501-4633
or Nicholas Throckmorton, FWS,
(202) 208-5634

Acting Secretary Scarlett Announces $3.9 Million in Grants
for Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Acting Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett today celebrated International Migratory Bird Day by announcing more than $3.9 million in federal grants to support Neotropical migratory bird conservation.

The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide the grants to 43 conservation partnerships in 34 U.S. states and 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Partners will contribute more than $17 million in matching funds to undertake projects that include researching, monitoring, and managing migratory bird populations.

There are 341 species of Neotropical migratory birds that breed in the United States and Canada, and winter in Latin America. Examples of these birds include species of plovers, terns, hawks, cranes, warblers and sparrows. Many of these birds are in decline and 10 species are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

"Migratory bird conservation extends far beyond our borders and depends on partnerships with other nations as well as states, tribes, conservation organizations and many others here at home," Scarlett said. "Through these grants, the Interior Department is supporting cooperative conservation projects and research from Alaska to Argentina.”

Scarlett made the announcement at an event marking International Migratory Bird Day at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 2000 established a matching grants program to fund projects promoting the conservation of Neotropical migratory birds in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Appropriations began in 2002 and the money can be used to protect, research, monitor and manage birds' populations and habitats, as well as to conduct law enforcement and community outreach and education. By law, at least 75 percent of the money goes to projects in Latin America and Caribbean countries while the remaining 25 percent goes to projects in the United States.

Projects in the United States include:

  • Alaska: The Wildlife Conservation Society will receive $60,000 to investigate the importance of the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area in Alaska’s North Slope area as a breeding ground for Neotropical migratory birds.
  • Arizona: The National Wildlife Federation will receive $68,090 to restore 50 acres of riparian forest on the Lower Colorado River in partnership with the Cocopah Indian Nation.
  • California: The Ventana Wildlife Society will receive $35,000 to investigate land bird populations, evaluate riparian habitats and perform community outreach and conservation education.
  • · Florida: The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife will receive $11,600 to study and band red knots that winter in Florida. Most known red knots migrate from South America to Canada via the Delaware Bay where they feast on horseshoe crab eggs.
  • North Dakota: The University of Colorado will receive $94,600 to evaluate the effectiveness of marking devices on power lines and cables in reducing bird collisions with the lines.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University will receive $24,718 to research reproduction rates for breeding populations of grassland sparrows on reclaimed surface mines.
  • Wisconsin: The Milwaukee County Avian Migration Monitoring Partnership will receive $9,000 to measure bird use in urban areas.
  • American West and Florida (AZ, FL, MT, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA, and WY): HawkWatch International will receive $124,000 to continue its extensive network of long-term raptor migration monitoring efforts in 10 states.
  • Appalachian Forests (AL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, NC, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, and WV ): Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife will receive $22,000 to model bird species abundance and forest structure.
  • National: The National Audubon Society will receive $40,000 to assess landbird populations at Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the United States and identify conservation opportunities. This information will be shared with Western Hemisphere conservation groups.Four additional partnerships will receive more than $430,000 in grant funds to carry out projects with coordinated conservation activities involving 10 U.S. states, Mexico, and the Bahamas for the benefit of Neotropical migratory birds.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than $3 million in grant funds will go to support 29 partnerships conserving Neotropical migratory birds and their habitat in 17 countries.