States to Receive Million to Support Wildlife and Habitats

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced over $45 million in funding provided through the State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program to help U.S. states protect species and habitats in greatest need.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced over $45 million in funding provided through the State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program to help U.S. states protect species and habitats in greatest need.

“The State Wildlife Grant Program has made a significant impact by preventing the need to list species under the Endangered Species Act,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “The program identifies the highest priorities in each state to effectively conserve and protect species on a large landscape scale.”

The SWG program awards grants for projects that implement strategies to conserve priority species contained in approved State Wildlife Action Plans. All 50 states and territorial wildlife agencies have such plans, which collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve rare species, such as the monarch butterfly, for future generations.

Additional examples of how SWG funding supports wildlife conservation initiatives include:

  • Prairie Dog: Using SWG funds, Arizona Game and Fish Department developed landscape tools for prairie dog management. Four prairie dog species—the white-tailed, Gunnison’s, Utah and black-tailed—are considered keystone species because they support the conservation needs of more than 12 other western grassland species. Management for these essential species exemplifies a cooperative and adaptive approach that seeks to preclude future listings of targeted species. This multi-state landscape-level conservation project is coordinated by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which refers to it as the Grassland Initiative.
  • Delmarva Fox Squirrel: SWG and other program funds delivered to state fish and wildlife agencies by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program have played a critical role in the recovery of the Delmarva fox squirrel. The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife used a combination of Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) and SWG funds to acquire habitat for the squirrel. The agency also received a SWG grant to develop a comprehensive management plan for the species in that state. In late 2014, the Service announced the proposed removal from the Endangered Species List of the Delmarva fox squirrel, marking another great conservation partnership success story.
  • Kirtland’s Warbler: State Wildlife Grants have also supported Kirtland’s warbler restoration through key habitat modification such as jack pine management. The warbler is one of the rarest songbirds in North America and is listed as endangered. Jack pine management for timber requires the use of clear cutting and prescribed fire, which provide optimized habitat conditions that enable species recovery.

Conserving these species through direct actions such as reintroduction and habitat enhancement can help prevent listing under the Endangered Species Act. Proactively conserving and restoring valued species helps local communities, agencies and taxpayers avoid potentially greater conservation costs when species become rare.

“We appreciate the strong ties formed by state agencies and their partners to protect wildlife species and their habitats,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s assistant director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “These partnerships are critical to the on-the-ground success of saving wildlife and job creation.”

The grants are distributed through an apportionment formula in accordance with the Appropriations Act. These funds are allocated to states and territories based on population and geographic area.

Grant funds must be used to address conservation needs, such as research, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring, identified within a State's Wildlife Action Plan. These funds may also be used to update, revise or modify a state’s plan.

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