Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act

Today, President Bush signed the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act, which provides funds for the Department of the Interior to work with private landowners. The act follows through on the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, which began in 1987.

"This law formalizes a program that exemplifies cooperative conservation," said Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. "The program puts financial and technical resources into the hands of willing landowners to help them manage their lands for imperiled plant and animal species. Next year we will celebrate the program’s 20th year. The law represents a perfect anniversary gift for this conservation success story."

Since the program's creation, it has helped conserve resources on almost 800,000 acres of wetlands, 2,000,000 acres of uplands and 7,000 miles of riparian and stream habitats through nearly 40,000 formalized partnership agreements.

Program successes range in scale. One project led to the creation of four small, emergent wetlands and enhancement of a remnant of native prairie on a 16-acre tract of land in Texas. As a result of the landowner’s efforts, and with the help of the Partners Program, thousands of migratory birds now stop over at the property each year during their annual migration. The landowner refers to the Partners Program as "the most rewarding and landowner-friendly (conservation) program of them all."

A large corporate partnership supported by the Partners Program helped protect 13,000 acres of rainforest and wetlands on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The Partners Program also provided matching funds to a local agricultural operation to protect sensitive lands under their care, with a focus on native plants and wildlife.

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