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GLIN==> New Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program Provides Funds to States, Territoriesfor Conservation Efforts

----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 08/23/2001 11:56 AM -----
                    Sent by:             To:     fws-news@lists.fws.gov                    
                    fws-news@list        cc:                                               
                    s.fws.gov            Subject:     [fws-news] WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND 
                                         RESTORATION PROGRAM  PROVIDES FUNDS TO STATES,    
                                         TERRITORIES FOR CONSERVATION EFFORTS              
                    09:38 AM                                                               
                    respond to                                                             

Contact:  Nicholas Throckmorton 202-208-5636


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that all fifty states,
the District of Columbia, and five territories are now eligible to take
part in the new
Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program.

The Secretary of the Interior is in the process of distributing $50 million
in grant money through the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program to
states and
territories for programs that benefit wildlife conservation, wildlife
conservation education and wildlife-associated recreation projects.   The
Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program is a new grants program
established by Congress through Title IX of the Commerce, Justice and State
Appropriations Act.

"The great thing about this program is the diversity of projects we are
able to fund," said Marshall Jones, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service "from
field guides, trails and wildlife viewing platforms to restoring habitat
for species."

For states and territories to be eligible for participation in the program,
each needed to first present a wildlife conservation plan to the Service,
which included a commitment by the State or territory to begin the
implementation of a wildlife conservation strategy within 5 years that is
based on their greatest conservation needs.  All fifty states, the District
of Columbia and five territories submitted plans to qualify for this grant
program.  A committee composed of members of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
(IAFWA) and state wildlife agencies reviewed the plans and worked with the
states and territories to provide any supplemental information necessary to
qualify for the program.

The Service sees the program as an expansion of the highly successful and
popular Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program that will provide
funds to the States to conduct much needed work in wildlife conservation.
The amount of money each state and territory receives once a proposal has
been submitted and accepted is based on a formula that incorporates its
land mass and population size in relation to the remaining States and
territories (chart attached).

"We are appreciative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their
cooperation in working expeditiously to provide this critically needed
funding.  Now the
states, the District of Columbia, and the territories are armed with
additional resources to confront the present day's troubling trend of
wildlife declines, and to ensure that future generations can enjoy healthy
fish and wildlife populations for  years to come," said R. Max Peterson,
executive vice president of IAFWA.

Fourteen states or territories are already putting this grant money to
work.  Some examples of their efforts include bat surveys in Louisiana,
mapping of
black-tailed prairie dog colonies in North Dakota, an amphibian and reptile
field guide in Oklahoma, and the development of a watchable wildlife
program for visitors to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah.

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
94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than
535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other
special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64
fishery resource offices and 78 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
Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in
excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife

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

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