Interior Department Awards Grants to States to Conserve Imperiled Wildlife
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will award state and territorial wildlife agencies more than $60 million to help conserve and recover imperiled wildlife through the State Wildlife Grant Program. The grant program is designed to provide annual funding to all state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies with established comprehensive conservation plans, also known as wildlife action plans.
“Taken together, the state and territorial wildlife action plans represent the most comprehensive national assessment of fish and wildlife resources and the steps needed to ensure healthy populations,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “The State Wildlife Grant Program provides crucial funding to implement these action plans and support conservation partnerships with state, tribal and territorial wildlife agencies, as well as private partners.”
All 56 state and territorial agencies have approved plans, which collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve imperiled species. The plans were created through the collaborative efforts of state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen and the general public. The plans were then reviewed by a national team that included the Fish and Wildlife Service and directors from state wildlife agencies. Approved plans have begun to produce numerous conservation successes.
To take just one example, ospreys are once again flying in Indiana. A group of nearly 200 partners led by the Indiana Wildlife Federation and Indiana Department of Natural Resources is using state wildlife grant money to restore the osprey, once common throughout the state. No osprey nests were seen from the late 1970s until 1990. Starting in 2003, ospreys have been released every year into areas with suitable habitat outfitted with newly built nesting boxes. Some of these ospreys have returned to the same areas during subsequent breeding seasons, demonstrating this reintroduction program is an effective way to conserve the osprey before they become even more rare and costly to protect.
“The plans determine what species and habitats are declining but not yet endangered,” continued Kempthorne. “By using this information, we can act before it’s too late. We are excited about this historic milestone because it represents our best chance for large scale cost-effective conservation. This sentiment is shared widely by others in the conservation community.”
The grant apportionment is based on a formula that is calculated using the state’s land area and population. A state may receive no more than 5 percent and no less than 1 percent of the available funds. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico each receive 0.5 percent and Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands each receive 0.25 percent.
Under legislation signed by President Bush in 2001, states and territories have received a total of $441 million in grants for conservation efforts to date. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number for the State Wildlife Grants is 15.634.
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.