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E-M:/ Michigan Gets Fed Grant $$ for Conservation



News From The Nature Conservancy-Michigan Chapter

Michigan Chapter: 101 East Grand River Lansing, MI 48906-4348 Website: nature.org/michigan Email: michigan@tnc.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- May 28, 2003

Contact: Melissa Soule, Communications Director; (517) 316-2268 or msoule@tnc.org

Michigan Awarded Major Federal Conservation Grants

Local Sites to Benefit From Funds Designated to Conserve Imperiled Species

LANSING, Mich. — The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today 113 grants totaling more than $9.4 million to individuals and groups to undertake conservation projects on private lands in 43 states for endangered, threatened and other at risk species.

"Conservation, and especially the conservation of imperiled species, must be a partnership between the American people and their government," said Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton today at a ceremony in Long Island, New York. "By making these grants, we are empowering citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps to protect and recover endangered and threatened species."

The Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy will be receiving more than $117,000 in federal funding from the Private Stewardship Grant program to aid in the advancement of land stewardship, invasive species removal, training conservation partners, and educating private landowners.

"This money could not have come at a better time," said Helen Taylor, state director for the Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. "Invasive species and reintroducing natural processes such as fire are enormous challenges for us in sustaining healthy, diverse wetland and woodland ecosystems. Now we can accelerate our efforts to restore biodiversity at some of Michigan’s last great places."

The Private Stewardship Grant Program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that benefit federally listed endangered or threatened species, candidate species or other species at risk. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working with the private sector are able to submit proposals directly to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for funding to support these efforts. President Bush has requested $10 million of funding for this program in the 2004 fiscal year.

"Judging from the number of truly innovative grant proposals we reviewed, landowners across the U.S. are eager to work with us to conserve species at risk," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams. "We anticipate this public-private partnership will result in significant conservation achievements for wildlife and wildlife habitat."

Conservancy Director of Conservation Science Doug Pearsall submitted the proposals on behalf of the Michigan Chapter. Official awards total $80,415 for fen conservation in Southern Michigan, and $36,632 for grassland-Great Lakes shoreline communities. In both habitats, species are at least 70% at risk of extinction. Pearsall said the money will be used for vegetation management through invasives species removal and some prescribed burning at four to six sites in Michigan, including:

    • Erie Marsh, Monroe County;
    • Grand River Fen, Jackson County;
    • Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie, Benzie County;
    • Maxton Plains on Drummond Island, Chippewa County;
    • Ives Road Fen, Lenawee County; and
    • Coolbough Natural Areas, Newaygo County.

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Nature Conservancy counts at least 1 million members worldwide, including more than 32,000 in Michigan. The Conservancy and its members have protected more than 80 million acres on Earth, including more than 73,000 acres in Michigan. The Nature Conservancy embraces a non-confrontational, market-based approach for accomplishing its science-driven mission.

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