Private landowners might qualify for federal funds

Leaders with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking proposals for private-land conservation funding through their Private Stewardship Grants Program, they said.

For fiscal-year 2006 (now through Sept. 30, 2006), approximately $6.5 million is available through this grant program to support on-the-ground conservation efforts on private lands, a service spokesperson said.

Proposals must be submitted to the regional office of the service by Monday, Jan. 23.

This program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and members of groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit imperiled species such as federally-listed endangered or threatened species, as well as proposed candidates for inclusion on those lists, and other at-risk species.

Landowners and their partners may submit proposals directly to service officials for funding to support those efforts.

In 2005, private landowners in Hawai’i were awarded $50,198 to help conserve and restore native habitat for a wide range of species from endangered Hawaiian forest birds on the Big Island, and for plants on Maui.

In the first two years of the program, 210 Private Stewardship Grants totaling more that $16 million were awarded to private landowners across the country.

During this time, Hawai’i landowners were awarded more money than any other state, receiving $2,340,827.

Applications must be received in Portland, Ore., by Monday, Jan. 23.

Information on how and where to submit proposals is available at the service’s Private Stewardship Grant Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/private_stewardship/index.html.

Completed proposals must be submitted to: PSPG Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 911 N.E. 11th Ave., Portland, OR 972324181.

Project proposals from Hawai’i compete for funding with those from other western states. Applicants are encouraged to seek additional guidance from service representatives in Hawai’i prior to submitting a proposal.

Please contact Craig Rowland at 1-808-792-9450, or e-mail him at craig_rowland@fws.gov, if you plan to submit a proposal.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The service employees manage the 95-million-acre national wildlife refuge system and thousands of small wetlands and other special-management areas.

They also operate 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery-resources offices, and 81 ecological-services field stations.

The agency workers enforce federal wildlife laws, administer the Endangered Species Act, manage migratory bird populations, restore nationally-significant fisheries, conserve and restore wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and help representatives of foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts.

They also oversee the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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