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GLIN==> USFWS Grants Fund Coastal Wetland Conservation Projects in 15 States, including$1 mill for Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, Lake Erie, Ohio

----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 11/26/02 05:33 PM -----

For release:  November 18, 2002
Patricia Fisher 202-208-1459


      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will award more than $15.7 million
in grants to 15 states to conserve, restore and protect coastal wetlands.
States awarded grants for fiscal year 2003 under the National Coastal
Wetlands Conservation Grant Program are Alabama, Alaska, California,
Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New
York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington State.

      The grants, which will help fund 21 projects, will be awarded through
the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant program and will be
supplemented by $33 million from state and private partners.  The Service
makes yearly matching grants to coastal states and U.S. territories for
projects involving the acquisition, restoration or enhancement of coastal
wetlands.  Projects are administered for long-term conservation benefits to
wildlife and habitat.
      Our state and private partners are key to protecting this nation=s
natural heritage for future generations to enjoy,@ said Service Director
Steve Williams.  Through cooperative projects such as those funded by
Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants, we can help provide habitat for
hundreds of species, and in many cases, public use opportunities as well.@

      Partners in this year=s Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants projects
include state natural resources agencies, land trusts, universities,
several timber companies, private landowners, and conservation groups such
as Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy.

      To date, the Service has awarded more than $120 million in grants to
25 states and one U.S. territory under the National Coastal Wetlands
Conservation Grant Program.  When the 2003 grants projects are complete,
they will have protected and/or restored more than 17,000 acres; nearly
150,000 acres will have been protected or restored since the wetlands grant
program began in 1990.

      National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants are awarded through a
competitive process.  The program is one of three conservation efforts
funded by the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration
Act.  Funding for the program is generated from excise taxes on fishing
equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels.  These taxes are deposited
into the Sport Fish Restoration Account of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund
(commonly called Wallop-Breaux after its Congressional sponsors).

      For more information about the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation
Grants program contact the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant
Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room
840, Arlington, VA 22203 or Division of Federal Aid, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 140, Arlington, VA 22203; or check
the program=s Internet home page at http://www.fws.gov/cep/cwgcover.html.

      Descriptions of the 2003 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant
projects follow.

Fiscal Year 2003 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Projects:


Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area Wetland Acquisition and Restoration.  Ohio=s
Department of Natural Resources will acquire and restore approximately 280
acres of Lake Erie=s coastal wetlands in Sandusky County.  This is an
important area for migrating songbirds and the most important staging area
for black ducks in North America.
Coastal grant:                $ 1,000,000
State share:                  $    660,000
Total cost:             $ 1,660,000

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 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 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 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.

Reporters: An "online almanac" of refuge information most frequently
requested by journalists, including the history of the system, a timeline
of recent events and a wide variety of background information, is available
at http://refuges100.fws.gov.


  For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our

                      home page at http://www.fws.gov

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