Private Landowners to Receiveby CBB Staff
Private landowners in Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Idaho will soon receive more than $2 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for projects designed to help conserve endangered, threatened and other at-risk species.
Interior Secretary Gail A. Norton last week announced the Pacific Region grants as part of a national announcement that $9.4 million in grants to benefit imperiled species have been awarded to 113 landowners in 43 states.
President Bush originally proposed the creation of the Private Stewardship Grant program during a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nev., in June 2000. The grants announced recently, the first awarded under the program, will benefit species ranging from the whooping crane in the state of Nebraska and the Delmarva fox squirrel on Maryland's Eastern Shore to the bald eagle in the state of Washington and the koloa or Hawaiian duck on the island of Kauai.
"Conservation, and especially the conservation of imperiled species, must be a partnership between the American people and their government," Norton said. "By making these grants, we are empowering citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps to protect and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species."
Each grant must be matched by at least 10 percent of the total project cost either in non-federal dollars or in-kind contributions.
"Judging from the number of truly innovative grant proposals we reviewed, landowners across the U.S. are eager to work with us to conserve at-risk species," said Steve Williams, USFWS director. "We anticipate this public/private partnership will result in significant conservation achievements for wildlife and wildlife habitat."
The Private Stewardship Grants Program provides 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 are able to submit proposals directly to the service for funding to support these efforts. President Bush has requested funding of $10 million for this program in 2004.
Grants awarded in the Pacific Region include:
Columbia River Estuary -- Deep River Habitat Restoration Project (Application by Columbia Land Trust) ($130,000) -- To protect and restore approximately 143 acres of disconnected floodplain habitat to benefit four listed salmonid species, and to enhance habitat function for a variety of wildlife species including bald eagle, marbled murrelet and other priority species. Restoration activities will include side channel reconstruction, tidegate removal, dike breaching, partial road removal, invasive vegetation removal, planting, and monitoring.
South Puget Sound Prairie Restoration Project (application by The Nature Conservancy of Washington) ($85,702)-- To restore high-quality prairie and oak woodland habitat suitable for the colonization or introduction of eight at-risk animal species including western bluebird, and Puget blue butterfly and to establish new populations of four at-risk plant species. The species benefiting from this project include the federally threatened golden paintbrush, and four species recently petitioned for emergency listing including western gray squirrel, western pocket gopher, Mardon skipper, and Taylor's checkerspot.
The project will restore degraded prairie habitat on a new conservation parcel with the short-term goal of enhancing native habitats sufficiently to introduce selected at-risk species.
Steamboat Marbled Murrelet Habitat Protection and Enhancement (application by Rayonier Timberlands Operating Company) ($59,250) -- For the abandonment, with strict environmental controls, of 4,435 feet of road running through the middle of an old growth forest called Steamboat. This includes abandoning the main logging road, five spur roads and six logging landings covering a total of six acres. Seven culverts will be removed and erosion prevention structures will be constructed. A 30-foot wooden stringer bridge controlling vehicle access to Steamboat will also be removed, permanently blocking vehicle access to the abandoned road. These actions will ensure the protection high quality marbled murrelet nesting habitat.
Tarboo Watershed Early Action Fish Passage Project (application by Northwest Watershed Institute) ($143,510) -- Project partners propose correction of five high priority fish passage barriers on private lands in the Tarboo watershed. The Tarboo Watershed is on the North Hood Canal region of Washington. Removal of these fish barriers will open up 5 miles of stream length for rearing and spawning of coho salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.
Tenmile Creek Watershed Volunteer Riparian Pilot Program (application by Whatcom Conservation District) ($116,632) - To support ongoing grassroots efforts of voluntary in-stream and riparian habitat restoration along reaches of Ten Mile, Four Mile, and Deer Creeks which are tributaries to the Nooksack River in Whatcom County, Wash. Restoration activities will restore critical spawning and rearing habitats for listed chinook, bull trout, and coho salmon.
Habitat Improvement, San Juan Valley Golden Paintbrush Site (application by Richard G. Rubin) ($4,400) -- To provide increased habitat for golden paintbrush at the San Juan Valley golden paintbrush site by mowing approximately one acre currently dominated by snowberry and hawthorn. The project includes a complete census and mapping of the population in the year after mowing. The project contributes toward a priority 1 recovery task by maintaining the largest and most vigorous population on private land.
Willamette Valley (application by The Nature Conservancy of Oregon) ($289,760) -- This project will restore riparian, prairie, and oak woodland habitat and habitat conditions for a total of 21 separate populations of seven federally listed species including Fender's blue butterfly, Oregon chub, Willamette Valley daisy, Bradshaw's lomatium; one candidate species (streaked horned lark); and five federal species of concern including northwestern pond turtle, yellow-breasted chat, and white-tip aster.
The project will provide additional benefits for eight at-risk species including western meadowlark (the state bird), and western gray squirrel. This project will build on existing at-risk species benefits at five ecologically important sites in the Willamette Valley. The project will also provide a foundation of restored habitat and restoration capacity on which to base coordinated species recovery efforts on targeted private lands throughout the Willamette Valley.
Upper Tualatin River Floodplain Restoration Project (application by Ducks Unlimited) ($152,565) -- The object of this effort will be to restore, enhance, and protect a native riparian forest corridor, wetlands and oak savanna in the Upper Tualatin River Watershed. Species that will benefit include federally threatened winter-run steelhead and Nelson's sidalcea, as well as species of concern such as coastal cutthroat trout, northern red-legged frog, and northwestern pond turtle.
The project's goal is to improve water quality in the Tualatin River for the benefit of steelhead and trout, wildlife and citizens of Washington County. This project will serve as a demonstration project for community education and as a catalyst for additional restoration efforts on private land in the Tualatin River Basin.
Thomas Creek Riparian Restoration Project (application by Ducks Unlimited) ($234,099) -- The project plans to restore 3000 acres of palustrine emergent marsh and eight miles of riparian habitat along Thomas Creek. Thomas Creek flows through a 10,000 acre ranch and is the largest tributary flowing into Goose Lake in south-central Oregon's Lake County. This restoration effort will benefit the endangered Modoc sucker as well as redband trout, which is a candidate species, as well as other state sensitive fishes including Goose Lake tui chub and pit sculpin.
Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Habitat Restoration Project (application by Friends of the Teton River, Inc.) ($110,000) - The Yellowstone cutthroat trout habitat restoration project will improve habitat at five locations along the Teton River, Idaho. The state of Idaho has established the cutthroat trout as a Category Apriority species on the list of species of special concern. Restoration work will increase overhanging vegetative cover and in-stream woody debris. In addition, 2,815 feet of stream bank will be fenced.
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