USFWS announces $37.2 million in species conservation grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced $37.2 million in grants to 20 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered species across the nation. The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species, ranging from the Cahaba shiner to the red-cockaded woodpecker.
Five southeasterm states received a combined total of $4,112,981 in grants: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Florida will receive $750,000 for the project "Statewide Habitat Conservation Plan for Florida Beaches (35 Coastal Counties- Statewide)". This grant will assist in the ninth and concluding year of this HCP planning effort. Stakeholders plan to assimilate acquired data into a final draft of the HCP. Activities in the coastal area and their threats to listed species will be analyzed. The goal of the HCP is to allow ongoing beach structure protection measures while limiting and mitigating the adverse effects to nesting loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, green, and hawksbill sea turtles, five beach mouse subspecies, and shorebirds, including wintering piping plover. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is leading this effort in conjunction with builders groups, municipalities, and other partners.
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, these competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
The grant funding is provided through programs that advance creative partnerships for the recovery of imperiled species. This year, the fund will allocate approximately $4.7 million in grants through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program, nearly $20.3 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program, and
$12.2 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program.