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February 2, 2004

Fish and Wildlife Service Press Release:



President George W. Bush is requesting more than $1.3 billion -- $22.6 million
more than last year, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2005 budget. The
request represents the administrations continuing commitment to protect
America’s natural resources and support conservation partnerships in
communities across the country.

Among the key features of this budget package are an increase for partnership and
cost-share grant programs under the President’s Cooperative Conservation
Initiative, and $2 million for a new Science Excellence Initiative. Budget
increases for hatcheries and migratory bird programs help to round out a package
that will allow the Service to conserve, with its partners, the nature of America.
"President Bush’s budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illustrates his
continued strong commitment to protect and conserve our nation’s fish and
wildlife and its habitat," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "In particular, the
budget significantly boosts funding to support partnerships with states, tribes,
local communities, private landowners and others to protect and enhance our
fisheries, recover species, and increase opportunities for Americans to enjoy our
public lands."

New funding in the 2005 budget to support the Cooperative Conservation
Initiative includes:

• An increase of $20.4 million for a total of $50 million for
Landowner Incentive Grants that provide state and tribal fish and
wildlife agencies grant funds needed to establish or expand habitat
protection and restoration programs on private land for "at risk"

• An increase of $2.6 million for a total of $10 million for Private
Stewardship Grant programs that provide cost-share grants to
landowners for wildlife conservation.

• An increase of $10.9 million for a total of $80 million for the State
and Tribal Wildlife Grants Fund that aids wildlife conservation on
State and Tribal lands.

• An increase of $16.5 million for a total of $54 million for the
North American Wetlands Conservation Fund that provides
matching grants to private or public organizations and individuals
to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States,
Canada, and Mexico.

• Increases of $8.4 million for a total of $90 million for the
Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund that helps
states increase participation in a wide array of voluntary
conservation projects for candidate, proposed and listed species.

The states award these funds to private landowners and groups for
conservation projects.

• Increases of $2.2 million for a total of $12 million for the National
Wildlife Refuge System’s Challenge Cost Share program that
provides grants that match federal and private funds for
conservation projects on refuges.

• New funding of $5 million for the High Plains Partnership under
the Partners for Fish and Wildlife programs. This is a publicprivate
collaboration initiated to pro-actively conserve declining
species and their habitats and preclude the need for further species
listings. The 2005 requested increase will allow the Service to
pursue this effort with state fish and game agencies in the 11 high
plain states, agencies within the Department of Agriculture, private
conservation organizations and private landowners. Sage grouse
conservation efforts will receive $300,000 of this money. The
Upper Klamath Basin Restoration, another conservation initiative,
will receive an increase of $6.2 million. The initiative will fund
habitat restoration, removal of fish migration barriers, land
acquisition and diminish the likelihood of water crises.

• An increase of $2.9 million for a total of $13.1 million for Coastal
Programs grants for on-the- ground conservation of wetlands and
tidal lands. Controlling invasive species will be a significant focus
of this program in 2005.

"The most effective conservation projects are the ones that are conceived and
carried out at the local level, by the people who live and work on the land,"
Norton said. "Our goal is to empower the American people to become citizen conservationists, working together to achieve what the government alone cannot

The budget request of $2 million for the Science Excellence Initiative is one of
Director Steve William’s priorities. Science excellence is the foundation for all of
the Services work. Through this initiative, the Service will be taking many steps
to increase our ability to acquire and apply science in the conservation of the
nation’s fish and wildlife resources. The budget for this initiative is divided up
into two components. One million dollars will be used to shape new approaches
to the science of natural resource conservation. The remainder will be used to
bolster the resources of our partners to help the Service better shape the direction
of conservation efforts and to meet the changing needs of science-based

“The ever-escalating complexity of natural resource conservation demands
scientific information that is rigorous, timely and relevant. This initiative
supports the underpinnings of good science, promotes good decision making, and
supports continuous learning and professional development, as well as stronger
partnerships with other Federal or state natural resource agencies, non-profit
organizations, and private industry,” Williams said.

Other notable parts of the Services 2005 budget:

• The Migratory Bird Management program would receive more
than a $4.5 million increase for permits and monitoring. This will
be an important step towards identifying and meeting the needs of
the program. An increase of $1.2 million, for a total of $11.4
million for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan will
help manage waterfowl as well as the 15 Joint Ventures around the
country. This successful model for achieving migratory bird
conservation goals through cooperation and consultation with
partners has increased the interest and number of potential

• The Endangered Species program will receive an extra $5.0
million, for a total of more than $17.2 million, in its listing budget
to alleviate the backlog in dealing with new listings and critical
habitat designations. This program has been subject to a great deal
of litigation in recent years, particularly in regards to designation
of critical habitat for already listed species. This increase will
address litigation-driven workloads and should also provide
additional funding to address other high-priority actions that are
not the subject of litigation.

• An increase of nearly $1 million for a total of nearly $16.9 million
will help address maintenance needs at national fish hatcheries.

The budget also provides an increase of $1 million for hatchery
operations, for a total of $40.1 million.

• The National Wildlife Refuge System’s Law Enforcement budget
would increase more than $3 million.

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 more than 542
national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special
management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource
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 governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes
hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment
to state fish and wildlife agencies.




For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our homepage at http://www.fws.gov






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