U.S. Fish and Wildlife Grants Millions

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Six states' fish and wildlife service programs will receive almost $5 million in grant money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services. The U.S. F&WS picked out the recipients to help with conserving and recovering Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program. All of the United States and territories have a State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan that is created by biologists, sportsmen, the fish and wildlife specialists and the public. The plans that are receiving the grant money are those with the most dire need, and will affect more than one state, from FWS.gov.

Funded projects include:

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission: Coordinated Multi-State Response to a Deadly, Emerging Threat – White-Nose Syndrome in Bats – This project will support a multi-regional coordinated response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging threat to cave-dwelling bats. Awarded funds will be used to detect the extent of WNS spread, conduct surveillance in cave habitats, develop state level response teams and implement WNS response and control strategies. State partners include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. In addition, Bat Conservation International (Austin, TX) will be a major partner.

Federal funds awarded: $998,834; non-federal match: $450,797

Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Use of Fire and Grazing to Improve Grassland Habitats for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) –  This project will develop an effective management framework for increasing the diversity of grasslands in working landscapes, thereby increasing the capacity of these areas to support viable populations of SGCN. Project activities will take place on both public and private lands. The use of fire and grazing will initially enhance conditions for SGCN that prefer a mix of woodland and open country, such as the loggerhead shrike. As woody vegetation becomes less prevalent (or is prevented from spreading on lands that were recently grazed, but are now used exclusively for recreation), habitat for SGCN that require open grasslands will be created or enhanced (e.g., the greater prairie chicken and Henslow’s sparrow). Over time, with moderation of stocking rates and application of fire, these lands will exhibit greater herbaceous structural diversity and begin to accommodate species requiring more variation in grassland habitat structure (e.g., the regal fritillary butterfly and upland sandpiper). Private lands dedicated to grazing or recreational uses and proximate to existing reserves will thus effectively act in a complementary fashion to benefit these SGCN and other grassland-dependent wildlife. Iowa DNR will partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation as well as personnel from Illinois and Oklahoma to accomplish project goals.

Federal funds awarded: $732,904; non-federal match: $317,113

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: The Conservation of Marsh Tidal Birds: Guiding Action at the Intersection of Our Changing Landscape – This project will provide information for the New England and Mid-Atlantic Coast States to protect regionally important habitats for tidal marsh birds (including 26 SGCN, such as the American black ducks, Nelson’s sparrows and saltmarsh sparrows) and to provide a regionally consistent platform for tidal marsh monitoring in anticipation of sea-level rise and upland/watershed development. Primary state partners include Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland with work also occurring in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Federal funds awarded: $760,202; non-federal match: $412,159

Michigan Department of Natural Resources: Oak Savanna, Pine Barrens and Jack Pine Restoration in Michigan and Ohio for Species of Greatest Conservation Need – This project will restore and enhance 600 acres of oak savanna in Michigan and Ohio for the recovery and benefit of the Karner blue butterfly and restore 400 acres of pine barrens and jack pine forest in Michigan for the recovery and benefit of Kirtland’s warbler. In addition, the project will potentially benefit 188 SGCN that utilize oak savannas, pine barrens and jack pine forests. Forty-five percent (or 450 acres) of the project lands fall under private ownership. The states of Michigan and Ohio will partner to accomplish project goals and activities.

Federal funds awarded: $852,484; non-federal match: $383,000

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission: Nebraska Natural Legacy Project: Phase III – This project will implement conservation partnerships and actions on private and public lands in Nebraska and South Dakota to enhance and improve native prairies, wetlands and woodlands for the benefit of SGCN in both states. This project will benefit Bell’s vireo, greater prairie chicken, ottoe skipper, swift fox and the Northern red belly dace. In addition, the project will implement adaptive management actions to better meet the needs of SGCN in Nebraska’s Natural Legacy Plan.

Federal funds awarded: $1,000,000; non-federal match: $333,333

Washington Department of Game and Fish: State Wildlife Grants Effectiveness Monitoring – This project will implement the third phase of development of a spatially enabled decision support system. The system will facilitate strategic implementation of State Wildlife Grant program funds across multiple states, including Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. This will allow states to share common data with their conservation partners and strategically prioritize actions across multiple states where appropriate, providing necessary information regarding effectiveness of conservation actions and expenditures of these dollars to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
Federal funds awarded: $514,059; non-federal match: $171,353

Comments

groovy mike's picture

This sounds like good news for those six state to me.

This sounds like good news for those six state to me.  I'm always happy when fish and wildlife service programs receive funding for anything like conserving and recovering species.  Although I have never heard of “Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)” or the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program.  It makes sense that the plans with the greatest need receive funding. 

 The White-Nose Syndrome in Bats is affecting bats in New York and Vermont too.  It is decimating our local bat populations.  I'm not a huge fan of bats, but I ma a big fan of reducing insect populations – especially mosquitoes and I have heard that bats cut down a huge number of mosquitos.  So I'm all for saving the bats!  

I’ll have to trust the experts on the use of fire and grazing as a conservation measure.  I don’t know enough about it to speak intelligently. 

Tidal marsh monitoring and rising sea-levels is something that just about any coastal state puts a priority on.  A lot of folks don’t think of New York State as a coastal state, but we actually have a huge coastline all along the shores of Long Island and Manhattan.

Who can argue with preserving the Karner blue butterfly and pine barrens?  Although as an auditor I do have to question whether that is the best use of over a million dollars of conservation funding. 

I've never even been in Nebraska so I’ll just make the same observation on that portion of the project –  I've got nothing against the greater prairie chicken, ottoe skipper, swift fox and the Northern red belly dace, but a million tax dollars – is this the best use?  I guess we have to trust someone to know what they are doing.

I have hunted in the state of Washington and hope to again so I like any plan that will enhance the hunting and game management there.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very cool that they give out

Very cool that they give out these funds to worthy causes.  However, I would like to know more about the cave dwelling bats in Arkansas that are getting a grant worth almost $1 Million though.

I guess every species gets it's day in the sun. lol

Anyone know where the "non-federal match" money comes from?  Private donors, charities, any clue?