U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces Nearly $5 Million for State Grants

By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release
By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that $4.9 million in grants will be going to six state fish and wildlife agencies to help
conserve and recover Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program.

Priority is given to multistate, cooperative conservation projects that
demonstrate measurable performance results and benefit SGCN. This federal funding will be matched by $2.9 million in non-Federal funds provided by

states and their partners for projects helping SGCN and their habitats.
The SWG Competitive Program, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Services State Wildlife Grants program, awards grants for projects that implement

strategies and actions to conserve SGCN contained in approved State
Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans (also known as State Wildlife Action Plans). Funding for the grants comes from Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations for the SWG Competitive Program.

All 56 states and territorial wildlife agencies have approved State
Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans, which collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve SGCN. The plans were created through a collaborative effort among state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen, and the general public. Each plan was then reviewed and approved by a national team that included members from the Fish and Wildlife Service as well as directors from state wildlife agencies.

Funded projects include:
1) Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Title: Multistate Sandhills/Upland Longleaf Ecological Restoration
Project (Phase 2): Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Goals and Objectives: This project will significantly increase the quality and quantity of habitat for priority wildlife species on over 51,775 acres of sandhill/upland longleaf forest in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi by prescribed fire, invasive species removal or hardwood removal and the planting of native longleaf pine and groundcover.

This proposal is a substantial effort to improve the habitat and status
of about 80 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) among the 5 primary State partners.

Federal Funds awarded: $981,050; Non-Federal match: $552,819

2) Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Title: Rangewide New England Cottontail (NEC) Initiative Continuation
and Expansion of NEC Conservation Effort

Goals and Objectives: The project will integrate conservation design and conservation delivery in 6 States in order to ensure that NEC
conservation efforts will be implemented and that they are effective. The project will deliver 1200 acres of NEC habitat restoration in an adaptive management framework creating 50 new habitat patches across the species range. The Primary State partners are Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York,and Rhode Island.

Federal Funds awarded: $1,000,000; Non-Federal match: $452,100

3) Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Title: Driftless Area Restoration and Assessment to Benefit Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)

Goals and Objectives: This project will restore at least 1,600
privately-owned acres and 3,150 acres of lands owned or managed by 3 State DNRs to bluff prairie, oak savanna, and/or woodland habitat for up to 79 SGCN. The Driftless Area?s habitat has changed greatly during the past 150 years. Savanna and prairie loss has been substantial across the region, with less than 2 percent savannas and 1percent prairies remaining.
Primary State partners include Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Federal Funds awarded: $972,000; Non-Federal Match: $783,463

4) New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

Title: Conservation of Blanding?s Turtles and Associated Wetland SGCN in the Northeast

Goals and Objectives: This project will maintain and enhance functional wetland and upland wildlife habitat in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania by applying conservation principles and practices needed to support a healthy Blanding?s turtle population. The project will seek to prevent further declines by developing and initiating implementation of a regional conservation plan to: identify and protect genetic variation among the Northeast?s turtles to improve habitats critical to their survival; develop monitoring protocols to detect status and trends; and create or enhance at least five nesting areas.

Federal Funds awarded: $637,336; Non-Federal Match: $273,912

5) Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Title: Big Rivers Mussel Restoration

Goals and Objectives: This project will support a regional effort to
increase populations of mussel SGCNs (in Kentucky, Ohio, and West
Virginia), and to develop captive propagation, restoration and
monitoring protocols which will be used to inform regional and national mussel conservation efforts. Thirty-five mussel SGCNs including 8 Federally Threatened or Endangered species will benefit from the project.

Federal Funds Awarded: $953,899; Non-Federal Match: $638,585

6) Arizona Game and Fish Department

Title: Western Coordinated Multi-State Response to a Deadly, Emerging Threat: White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in Bats

Goals and Objectives: This proposal addresses eligible issues identified in State Wildlife Action Plans (WAP) of all six major Western project partners and addressed the emerging issue of WNS as a wildlife health threat. All application partners propose improving the status of bat species including SGCN (15) species and/or their habitats. The application will have four WNS Priority Areas: Oversight, Surveillance, Communication, Education and Outreach and Research. WNS has been included in the upcoming revision of the Arizona Game and Fish Department?s WAP. Because the disease is so new and devastating, it is being included in WAP revisions nationwide.

Federal Funds Requested: $445,715; Non-Federal Match: $204,087

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit
www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws,
follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at
http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at

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