Secretary Salazar Announces Funding for Wetlands Acquisitions & Grants for Bird Habitat Conservation
Washington, DC –-(Ammoland.com)- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) has approved more than $3.5 million in land acquisitions at three National Wildlife Refuges.
The projects are supported by the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which includes proceeds from the sales of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, otherwise known as the Federal Duck Stamp. These approvals will add an estimated 1,300 acres of vital waterfowl habitat to the National Wildlife Refuge System.
“Wetlands provide many ecological, economic, and social benefits, such as habitat for fish, wildlife, and a variety of plants. They serve as nurseries for saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance,” said Secretary Salazar. “We value our nation’s Great Outdoors, and these additions to the National Wildlife Refuge System will help keep our wetlands safe and provide Americans astounding wildlife viewing opportunities.”
The following acquisitions were approved today:
- Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge Lauderdale and Tipton Counties, Tennessee – Acquisition of 625 acres for $1,880,000. The tract lies in the Hatchie River Basin, which contains a mix of bottomland hardwoods, grasslands, and flood-prone agricultural land. The Service plans to restore this tract to its former forested state and manage it for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
- Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Washington and Yamhill Counties, Oregon – Acquisition of 32 acres in fee title for $275,000. Various creeks seasonally flood this agricultural tract, making it extremely attractive to wintering and migrating waterfowl. The Service plans to restore habitat and manage the land for waterfowl, especially tundra swans.
- Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area Kern and Tulare Counties, California – Acquisition of an easement of 656 acres for $1,425,700. These three perpetual conservation easements will add to the growing chain of easements in this area. These wetlands attract many waterfowl species, including northern pintails, northern shovelers, gadwalls, and green-winged teal.
The Commission also approved more than $29 million (pending FY2011 funding) in federal grants under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for projects that will help to protect, restore and enhance more than 85,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitats across the United States and Mexico. If Congress approves FY2011 funding, these grants will support 26 projects in 17 states under NAWCA’s U.S. Standard Grants Program.
Ark-La-Miss Wetlands Conservation II, Arkansas, Louisiana – Clay, Desha, Prairie, White and Woodruff Counties, AR and Concordia and Tensas Parishes, LA This project builds on efforts to acquire, protect, restore and enhance wetland habitats in the Lower Mississippi Valley to offset the habitat losses of the previous century. Activities will include enhancement of ecologically diverse wetland habitats that will provide foraging, nesting, or roosting habitat for a number of waterfowl species and other wetland-dependent migratory birds. Partners will also improve or enhance other wetland values and functions by improving local and regional water quality, providing natural flood storage capacity and enhancing soil conservation by reducing sediment in precipitation runoff. Six of the nine project tracts are publicly owned and will be available for public use and access.
Coastal Marin Wetlands Restoration Project II, California – Marin County, California This project aims to protect – through acquisition and restoration – estuarine, riparian and floodplain areas, with a goal of eliminating habitat fragmentation and establishing a network of healthy wetlands and adjacent habitats in Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Partners will restore natural processes and transitional habitat to increase resilience to environmental change; augment forage for migratory birds; restore riparian corridors to benefit neotropical migrants, waterfowl, and endangered fish; and revitalize habitats for resident and wintering wildlife, including colonial waterbirds and threatened and endangered species. More than 400 species of wildlife use habitats within the project area for wintering, migration, and/or breeding habitat.
Partners in these projects will contribute an additional $70.5 million in matching funds. Grants are funded by annual Congressional appropriations; penalties and forfeitures levied under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; interest accrued on funds under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act; and excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Fund. For more information on these grant programs information is available on the web at: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SFR/SFR.htm http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/WR/WR.htm
The Commission also approved more than $3 million in NAWCA grants for nine projects in Mexico. These projects involve habitat acquisition, restoration, enhancement and creation.
Habitat Protection for Migratory Birds in Bahia Magdalena-Almejas Wetland Complex, Phase II – Bahia Magdalena-Almejas wetland corridor and Laguna de Hiray, Valle de Santo Domino, Municipality of Comondu, Baja California Sur, Mexico Partners in this project will acquire coastal wetlands in the Ejido Santo Domingo, and develop an ecological baseline of new parcels in Santo Domingo and in Laguna de Hiray for implementing long-term habitat conservation.
Protection and Management of Laguna Babicora, Chihuahua, Phase II – Mexican northern State of Chihuahua This project will help acquire more than 450,000 acres to become part of the Federal Natural Protected Area System. Partners will also protect critical wetland habitat through conservation easements, enhance habitat by reducing excess sedimentation, and conduct waterfowl monitoring and conservation planning.
These grants will be matched by more than $19.4 million in partner contributions and will directly affect more than 738,315 acres of wetlands and associated habitats in 13 Mexican states. In addition to habitat acquisition, restoration, enhancement and management activities, NAWCA projects in Mexico can also involve technical training, education, sustainable-use studies, or organizational infrastructure building needed to develop or strengthen wetlands conservation and management capabilities.
Final funding for all NAWCA projects will be dependent on the final Fiscal Year 2011 budget. In the absence of funding at the President’s request for FY2011, many of these projects will not be accomplished and conservation benefits will be lost.
Established by law in 1929, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved the acquisition of more than 43,000 acres of quality waterfowl habitat at national wildlife refuges and in the northern Midwest’s Prairie Pothole Region, all using MBCF dollars.
Since 1929, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has met several times each year to consider MBCF land purchases and, starting in 1989, to approve NAWCA grant proposals.
Commission members include: Chairman – Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior Thad Cochran, Senator from Mississippi Mark Pryor, Senator from Arkansas John D. Dingell, Congressman from Michigan Robert J. Wittman, Congressman from Virginia Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture Lisa Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency Secretary – A. Eric Alvarez, Chief, Division of Realty, Fish and Wildlife Service For more information about the Commission visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/realty/mbcc.html.
Passed in 1989, NAWCA provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Act was passed in part to support activities under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement that provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated upland habitats needed by waterfowl and other migratory birds in North America. More information about NAWCA grant programs and projects approved today is available on the Web at: http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/index.shtm.
Under NAWCA, some 4,440 partners involved in more than 2,000 projects have received more than $1.08 billion in grants. They have contributed another $2.24 billion in matching funds to affect 25.9 million acres of habitat and $1.2 billion in non-matching funds to affect 234,790 acres of habitat.
Additional information about the history of the ongoing efforts to conserve North America’s wetlands and waterfowl can be found at FLYways.us. The website provides waterfowl enthusiasts, biologists and agency administrators with the most up-to-date waterfowl habitat and waterfowl population information.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.