|WASHINGTON --Missouri and Wisconsin will receive a total of $1.4 million to acquire and protect more than 1,400 acres of high quality habitat supporting endangered and threatened species, according to an announcement recently by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The funds are part of more than $53 million in grants to 17 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants. Specifically, the Missouri Department of Conservation will receive $534,750 under the Recovery Land Acquisition Grant Program to acquire an 895-acre conservation easement on land that will protect important karst and cave recharge areas in Lawrence County. Protections will provide significant benefits for the endangered gray bat, the threatened Ozark cavefish and the Missouri bladderpod, a threatened plant.
“Our solid partnerships with states are key to Interior’s continued success in preventing the extinction of hundreds of threatened and endangered species, and recovering species, such as the bald eagle, brown pelican, and American alligator,” Salazar said. “These grant awards will support important state efforts to build and strengthen conservation partnerships, and to conserve and protect vital habitat for threatened and endangered animals and plants.”
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups, and other agencies to initiate cost-effective conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
“Ensuring the survival of imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The vital funding provided by these grants empowers landowners and communities to safeguard habitat for threatened and endangered species and foster conservation stewardship efforts for future generations.”
This year, the CESCF will provide approximately $28.6 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, $10.7 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, and $14 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program. The three programs were established to help advance creative partnerships for imperiled species conservation recovery.
A complete list of the 2011 grant awards under these programs (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 15.615) is available online here.
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are agreements between a landowner and the Service. These agreements allow a landowner to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property, even if they may impact listed species, when that landowner agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions. HCPs may also be developed by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.
Under the HCP Land Acquisition Grants Program, the Service provides grants to states or territories for land acquisition that complements the conservation objectives of approved HCPs. The HCP Planning Assistance Grants Program funds baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach, and similar planning activities.
For more information about the Endangered Species Program go here.