Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Almost $70 million for conservation

Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior announced that several states will receive federal money for conservation planning and habitat purchases. More than $67 million in grants will go to 27 states, which applied to the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said,
"Our ability to successfully conserve habitat for imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation. These grants provide the means for States to work with landowners and communities to conserve habitat and foster conservation stewardship efforts for future generations."
I like the emphasis on "voluntary" and "landowner participation." We shouldn't coerce adults into habitat and species conservation, and we need to respect that they should receive compensation for improvements on their land or the purchase of it.

Why should you read a run-down of the grants? Because it shows that our government works with our fellow citizens to protect the habitat that we birders highly value.

Naturally, the funds will benefit at-risk mammals, amphibians and plants as well as birds. Habitat Conservation Plan land acquisition grants that mentioned avian species include:

California: Western Riverside County MSHCP - least Bell's Vireo and coastal California Gnatcatcher

Michigan: Point Betsie Piping Plover HCP (Benzie County) - Piping Plover

Montana: Native Fish HCP-Blackfoot Easement Project (Lewis & Clark, Missoula and Powell counties) - Bald Eagle, Trumpeter Swan, Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse

North Carolina: Sandhills HCP-Odom Tract (Scotland County) - Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Texas: Cibolo Canyonlands Golden-cheeked Warbler Land Acquisition (Comal County) - Golden-cheeked Warbler

Washington: Plum Creek HCP-Methow Watershed (Okanogan County) - northern Spotted Owl, Bald Eagle; Plum Creek HCP-Swamp Lake/Amabilis Mountain II (Kittitas County) - northern Spotted Owl; Plum Creek HCP-Hyak Gold Creek Corridor (Kittitas County) - northern Spotted Owl, Bald Eagle, Marbled Murrelet; Washington DNR HCP-Hoh River Conservation Corridor (Jefferson County) - northern Spotted Owl, Bald Eagle, Marbled Murrelet; Washington DNR HCP-Barr Creek Forest Protection (Skagit County) - northern Spotted Owl, Bald Eagle, Marbled Murrelet

Habitat conservation planning assistance grants that mentioned avian species include:

Arizona: Multi-species HCP for Tucson - cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, western Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Arkansas: Big Woods of Arkansas - Ivory-billed Woodpecker, interior Least Tern, Red-cockaded Woodpecker

California
: Yuba & Sutter Counties - wintering habitat for various migratory species

Florida: Walton County HCP - Piping Plover

Montana: Montana Division of Natural Resources Forested Trust Land HCP - Bald Eagle

For more than this sample of grants, read the whole document.

Photos courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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