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Washington wildlife to benefit from USFWS grants

Imperiled species will benefit from a total of $5.6 million in grants for 16 projects in 12 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants program.

The grants, which focus on large-scale conservation projects yielding measurable results, will be matched by more than $2.9 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners for projects that work to conserve and recover wildlife identified by states as Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats.  The 12 states receiving grants are: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina and Washington.

“State Wildlife Grants help keep sensitive species from declining further,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “In Arizona, for example, the program has helped protect the black-tailed prairie dog by funding the development and testing of a treatment for sylvatic plague, a major source of mortality for the species. These prairie dogs serve as prey for other rare species of birds and mammals, so protecting them helps the Service and states successfully maintain the integrity of western grassland ecosystems.”

The grant funds will benefit a variety of species and habitats. In five northeastern states, partners will implement a regional, landscape-scale strategy to conserve the imperiled wood turtle. In Nebraska and Wyoming, partnering wildlife agencies will help determine the conservation status of a variety of imperiled bat species through data collection, while also improving and protecting more than 1,100 acres of habitat to benefit these species.  In Washington and Oregon, partnering state fish and wildlife agencies are using funding to pursue a landscape-scale conservation initiative in the Willamette Valley and Puget Trough regions to benefit federally threatened and endangered species, as well as a host of other state-identified Species of Greatest

Conservation Need.

Pacific Region projects and funds are:

•       Idaho - $100,000 for modeling connectivity and enhancing the usability and accessibility of Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s State Wildlife Action Plan. The agency will develop a regional connectivity map, develop crucial habitat data layers for at least 14 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, and increase the usability and accessibility of the plan by improving Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s websites and applications.

•       Washington and Oregon - $499,893 for conserving state strategy species in Pacific Northwest prairie and oak habitats. Partners seek to substantially improve the population status of rare or imperiled species inhabiting the prairie-oak habitats of the Willamette Valley and Puget Trough regions of western Oregon and Washington, thus reducing the likelihood they may need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The partnering states will implement habitat management actions on over 400 acres of public and private lands. Actions will target a range of species including the Service-listed Mazama pocket gopher and streaked horned lark (threatened) as well as Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (endangered).

•       Washington - $60,000 for enhancing the Washington State Wildlife Action Plan by adding a spatial component and tools for prioritizing conservation. The overarching goal of this project is to improve the utility of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Action Plan for prioritizing conservation actions to address the needs of identified Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Three major activities include: developing range and distribution maps based on watersheds and ecological systems, leveraging data from conservation partners to supplement existing distribution data, and assessing the relative vulnerability of habitats in order to more effectively prioritize conservation actions.

For more information about each of the grant projects, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SWG/SWG_Funding.htm

State Wildlife Grant-funded projects implement strategies and actions to conserve species identified in approved state wildlife action plans.

Funding for the grants comes from Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations.

All 50 states and six territorial wildlife agencies have approved state wildlife action plans that collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The plans were created through a collaborative effort among state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen and -women and the general public.

The Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) is a 75-year partnership to benefit fish and wildlife and provide Americans with access to the outdoors through a self-imposed investment paid by manufacturers and users of gear bought by anglers, boaters, hunters and shooters and managed by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies. Fishing and hunting licenses and motorboat fuel taxes also support fish and wildlife. Since its inception, WSFR has provided more than $16 billion for fish and wildlife, supplied jobs for thousands of Americans, and benefitted local economies through boating, fishing, hunting and shooting activities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels:

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