Monday, January 09, 2006

More than $15 million for coastal wetlands

Twelve states will receive more than $15 million through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. After the 19 projects in Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas and Washington met their goals, about 14,000 acres will have been protected, restored or enhanced.

Federal funding stems from the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, which stipulated that money would come from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels. (Why do hunters and fishers directly contribute to conservation programs when they purchase equipment to facilitate their activites but birders do not? The "consumption" argument [in defense of birders] doesn't hold water with me. --Ed.)

The grant program also incorporates more than $12 million from private landowners, state and local governments, and conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the programs and awards the grants. Since the program began, the service has awarded more than $165 million. The grant program's fact sheet appears here.

This year's recipients and projects:
Alabama -- Point Caddy wetlands
Alaska -- Eagle River South Estuary, Long Lagoon coastal habitat protection, Nushagak Bay/Wood-Tikchik State Park
California -- Arcata Baylands restoration/enhancement
Georgia -- Sansavilla Wetlands
Hawaii -- Kawainui Marsh wetland restoration/enhancement
Illinois -- Hegewisch Marsh restoration
Maine -- Thomas Island habitat protection
Massachusetts -- Great Neck and Moody Island, Salisbury Marsh land acquisition
Michigan -- Detroit River wetland restoration/enhancement, Keweenaw County land acquisition
New Jersey -- De Soi-Stinger property acquisition
Texas -- North Deer Island protection/restoration
Washington -- Crockett Lake coastal wetlands acquisition/protection, Eld Inlet tidelands and freshwater wetlands, Port Susan acquisition and protection, Qwuloolt Project estuarine restoration

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