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Fish and Wildlife Provides Nearly $19.9 Million in the Pacific Region Through Two Grant Programs

"The grants are for Land Acquisition and Conservation Efforts on Private Lands"

News Release May 15, 2007 Fish and Wildlife:

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today awarded more than $75 million in grants through two grant programs; the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and the Private Stewardship Grants Program.

Approximately $19.9 million in grants were awarded to Pacific Region states of Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho and Washington and landowners in those states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered species. The grants will benefit species ranging from butterflies to bull trout.

"These grants present an invaluable opportunity for states and landowners to work together to protect habitat for threatened and endangered species," said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. "Building conservation partnerships and developing cooperative conservation programs are important tools toward ensuring the survival of species and preventing species from becoming threatened."

Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund:

In total, more than $68 million in Recovery Land Acquisition Grants were awarded to 21 states and one territory in 2007. The following are the grants received by states in the Pacific Region, totaling $18.7 million.

Hawaii Coordination and Planning of a Regional Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan on Kauai, Hawai'i. (Kauai County, HI): $367,718. The grant will help support the development of a multi-species HCP for Kauai County, Hawai'i. The habitats affected by the development of an HCP include mountain forests in the interior of the island as well as lowland coastal areas within urbanized zones. These areas connect many watersheds and provide the habitat necessary to restore and recover federally listed Newell's shearwater, Hawaiian petrel, puaiohi, large Kauai thrush, Kauai O'o, Hawaiian hoary bat, green sea turtle, Blackburn sphinx moth, and Newcomb's snail. In addition the band-rumped storm petrel and Kauai creeper, both candidates, will benefit.

Kilauea Coastal Preserve Acquisition (Kauai County, HI): $1,631,132. The objective of this acquisition is to acquire and permanently protect 20 acres of privately owned lands. The property acquisition is located at the mouth of Kilauea stream at Kahili beach and is adjacent to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The area contains occupied habitat for five federally listed endangered bird species, the Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian gallinule, and Hawaiian duck and the Hawaiian hoary bat.

Oregon Benton County Prairie Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Benton County, OR): $333,000.

This second phase of funding will assist the County to complete development of a programmatic HCP and related NEPA documentation for multi-species prairie habitat HCP. The HCP will provide for protection of the federally listed Fender?s blue butterfly, Nelson's checkermallow, Bradshaw's lomatium, Willamette daisy, and Kincaid's lupine. The Taylor's checkerspot butterfly and streaked horned lark, both candidates for listing, will also be provided protection.

Pocket Creek Ranch Conservation Easement at Zumwalt Prairie (Wallowa County, OR) $557,000. This grant is for the acquisition of a conservation easement over 5,817 acres adjacent to The Nature Conservancy?s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in northeast Oregon. The conservation easement will protect additional habitat for the largest known Spalding's catchfly population in Oregon and habitat for the Snake River steelhead, both federally listed threatened species. This acquisition is also expected to benefit Columbia spotted frog, nesting raptors including ferruginous hawks and northern goshawks, and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse.

Washington Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Area HCP (Statewide, all 39 counties, WA): $575,000. This grant funds the third year of an HCP process for the State's wildlife areas covering a total of approximately 830,000 acres. The HCP will offer benefits to protected species and land users by providing certainty that land management activities meet Federal species protection requirements. Listed species that will benefit include but are not limited to: pygmy rabbit; woodland caribou; snowy plover; spotted owl; marbled murrelet; bull trout; Chinook salmon; steelhead; Oregon silverspot; golden paintbrush; and Kincaid's lupine.

Unlisted species include greater sage-grouse, northern goshawk, burrowing owl, Oregon spotted frog, Larch Mountain salamander, coho salmon, Mardon skipper, Taylor's checkerspot, and giant Columbia River limpet.

Washington State Hydraulic Project Approval HCP (Statewide, all 39 counties, WA): $686,312. Funding is for the third year of the HCP process for the State?s primary fish protection regulatory program, the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) program. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife seeks an HCP as a means of continuing conservation of fish and shellfish species and habitat, while achieving long-term certainty that the HPA program meets Federal species protection requirements. Listed species that will benefit include bull trout; steelhead; and Chinook, coho, and sockeye salmon. Unlisted species include but are not limited to: coastal cutthroat trout; green sturgeon; Pacific, river, and western brook lamprey; California floater mussel; and giant Columbia River limpet.

Plum Creek HCP - I-90 Wildlife Corridor, Phase III - Keechelus Ridge
(Kittitas County, WA): $4,191,500. The Keechelus Ridge acquisition will acquire up to 670 acres along Interstate Highway 90, near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. The acquisition will prevent development; protect habitat for northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, gray wolf, grizzly bear, Canada lynx, and bull trout; and contribute to improved habitat connectivity between the north and south Cascade Mountains for another 160 species including bald eagle, wolverine, marten, and Pacific giant salamander.

*San Juan Islands Castilleja Conservation Project (San Juan County, WA): $1,000,000. The objective of this acquisition is to permanently protect one of the last surviving populations of golden paintbrush in the Northern Puget Sound area. Globally, golden paintbrush is known to occur at only 11 sites.

* Indicates partial funding awarded

For a complete list of the 2007 grant awards for this programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615), please visit the Service's Endangered Species Grants webpage: http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/section6/index.html.

Private Stewardship Grants (PSG) Program:

In addition, approximately $1.2 million Private Stewardship Grants were awarded to landowners in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington under the Private Stewardship Grants Program.

Now in its fifth year, the Private Stewardship Grants Program provides $7.2 million in federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit federally listed endangered or threatened species, candidate species or other at-risk species. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working with private landowners submit proposals directly to the Service for funding to support these efforts.

"We are seeing tremendous benefits to wildlife by partnering with private landowners," said H. Dale Hall, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. "Each year, these private stewardship grants pay dividends in the effort to preserve imperiled species and their habitats. It is heartening to see how much progress we can make when we work together."

The following are the PSG grants awarded in the Pacific Region, totaling approximately $1.2 million:

Hawaii Auwahi III Dryland Forest Ecosystem Restoration - (application by Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.) - Maui County, Hawaii - ($280,500*) - The objective of this project is the construction of an ungulate-proof fence protecting 190 acres of Auwahi forest on privately-owned Ulupalakua Ranch. This project builds upon the success of previous Auwahi restoration projects by protecting one of the richest and most endangered of Hawaiian ecosystems. The species which will benefit include the Blackburn's sphinx moth and eight federally listed and two candidate plants.

Endangered Species Protection in East Maui - (application by Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.) - Maui County, Hawaii - ($88,000) - Funding will be used to support the accelerated ungulate removal program within 2,000 acres of a 12,000-acre project area with emphasis on areas where threats have been identified from past monitoring initiatives. In addition, funding will be used to manually remove satellite populations of invasive plant species including kahili ginger, pampas grass, and fountain grass. The project area is occupied by five federally listed forest birds as well as seven listed and 2 proposed plant species. In addition, there is unoccupied habitat for nine additional listed or proposed plant species.

Hawaii Island Hawksbill Turtle Nesting Habitat Management - (application by Nani Kahuku Aina, LLC.) - Hawaii County, Hawaii - ($106,920) - The project seeks to improve hawksbill sea turtle nesting habitat by minimizing threats posed by non-native mammalian predators including mongooses, rats, feral cats, and feral dogs; controlling non-native plants such as fountain grass; and minimizing impact of human activities by restricting beach access. Green sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals will also benefit as a result of this restoration project.

Implementation of the West Maui Mountains Watershed Management Plan for Wailuku Water Company Lands - (application by Malama Kahalawai, Inc.) - Maui County, Hawaii - ($150,000) - The objective of this project is to remove threats to rare species located on West Maui Forest Reserve lands owned byWailuku Water Company, LLC. Funding will be used for the installation of approximately 16 strategic fences totaling 1,800 meters. These strategic fences which will prevent access by pigs and illegal dirt bikers to 2,644 acres of prime habitat for 11 rare species including Newell's shearwater, Hawaiian dark rumped petrel, Hawaiian short eared owl, and a number of listed or proposed plant species.

Idaho Mores Creek floodplain Restoration Project, Phase III Grimes Creek -
(application by West Central Highlands Resource Conservation and Development Council) - Ada and Boise Counties, Idaho - ($109,803*) - This project is a floodplain restoration effort to restore the 1) channel geometry of the creek and floodplain, 2) sediment and water regime, and 3) riparian plant community by salvaging and utilizing the existing vegetation within the project reach. Restoration efforts will occur on 14 miles of Grimes Creek within the Mores Creek Watershed. The federally listed bull trout as well as redband trout will benefit.

Oregon Lowe Creek Channel and Wetlands Restoration - (application by Oregon Trout) - Coos County, Oregon - ($87,375) - The Lowe Creek Channel and Wetlands Restoration at Boatman Grove Fish and Wildlife Preserve project will restore estuarine and wetland habitat by removing the lower portion of Lowe Creek from its currently straightened, manmade ditch and reconnecting it with a meandering tidal channel and its historic mouth on the Coquille River. Approximately 107 acres and a full mile of stream habitat will be reconnected to its floodplain providing benefits for federally listed coho salmon and bald eagles as well as Chinook salmon (a State-listed threatened species), steelhead, and little willow flycatcher.

Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery through Grassland Restoration at the Boardman Conservation Area - (application by The Nature Conservancy) - Morrow County, Oregon - ($36,563) - The project objectives are to restore 50 acres of degraded grassland located in a former cattle holding pasture and 16 acres of former cattle watering and salt lick areas. The restoration activities funded under this project will benefit a number of at-risk species including the federally listed bald eagle and State-listed Lawrence's milk-vetch, Washington ground squirrel (both Federal candidates), and northern wormwood.

Whychus Creek Habitat Restoration Project - (application by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council) - Deschutes County, Oregon - ($204,000*) - The goal of the Whychus Creek Stream Habitat Restoration Project is to restore a naturally functioning stream channel to provide high quality in-stream and riparian wetland habitat for the benefit of reintroduced steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, and redband trout. The specific objectives are to restore 1.4 miles of high quality spawning and rearing habitat; restore functioning meadow hydrology and floodplain connectivity; provide an additional 115 acres of riparian wetland habitat; restore natural channel stability; provide balanced sediment transport; and reduce stream temperatures

Washington Tarboo Creek and Wetland Restoration - (application by Northwest Watershed Institute) - Jefferson County, Washington - ($60,000) - This project is a cooperative effort between Jefferson Land Trust, Jefferson County Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hood Canal Coordinating Council and others to restore 0.5 miles of Tarboo Creek mainstem, 0.5 miles of tributaries, and 40 acres of exceptionally rare forested bottomland wetlands. The restored stream channels and riparian areas will benefit coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, and threatened Puget Sound Chinook and Hood Canal summer chum salmon.

Wolf Haven Prairie Restoration - (application by The Nature Conservancy) - Thurston County, Washington - ($74,000) - The objective of this project is to restore high-quality prairie habitat. Improved habitat quality will provide opportunities for the enhancement, colonization, or introduction of six at-risk animal species including Mazama pocket gopher, Mardon skipper, and Taylor's checkerspot (all Federal candidates). In addition, the federally threatened golden paintbrush will be re-introduced at the site. Golden paintbrush re introduction will follow the guidelines outlined in the "Recovery Plan for Golden Paintbrush."

The full list of projects selected for funding under the Private Stewardship Grants Program may be accessed at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship.html. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this grant program is 15-632.

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 547 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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