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GLIN==> Migratory Bird Commission Approves $25 Million for Wetlands Restoration




----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 05/08/2001 08:22 AM -----

Note particularly Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Wetlands, Indiana Project;
and Door Peninsula Coastal Initiative, Wisconsin.

May 1, 2001
Rachel F. Levin 202-208-5631
rachel_levin@fws.gov

Thirty-seven wetland habitat restoration and conservation projects in the
United States, Canada and Mexico will receive federal funding through the
North American Wetlands Conservation Act after the Migratory Bird
Conservation Commission approved $25 million in matching grants at its
March meeting.

The commission, which meets three times a year to approve wetland
conservation projects on national wildlife refuges and other important
migratory bird habitat throughout North America, committed funds for two
Canada projects, seven Mexico projects, and 28 projects in the United
States.  Monies provided through the North American Wetlands Conservation
Act, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be
matched by funding from other government agencies, private landowners and
conservation organizations.

Because migratory birds are a shared resource among the United States,
Canada and Mexico, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act makes
grants to conservation projects in all three countries.

Hundreds of thousands of migrating birds use wetlands in Mexico as winter
and stopover habitat.  The seven Mexico projects are located in six Mexican
states and will focus on habitat restoration and management, as well as
education efforts.  Grant funds totaling more than $1 million will be
matched by nearly $2 million in partner funds for these projects.

The two projects in Canada will improve diverse habitat -- grasslands,
native prairie, uplands and coastal habitat -- in a total of five
provinces.  North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants of $400,000
will be matched by $860,000 in partnership funds to restore and protect
thousands of acres used by waterfowl and other migratory birds to breed and
raise their young before migrating through and wintering in the United
States and Mexico.

"Projects funded under the Act exemplify the effectiveness of working
closely with our state and private partners to conserve habitat," said
Acting Service Director Marshall Jones.  "And the ultimate beneficiaries
are waterfowl and other migratory birds."

Since its passage in 1989, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has
helped to fund projects that brought more than 1,000 partners--federal,
state and local agencies, private organizations, small businesses, and
private citizens--together to preserve and restore wetlands and migratory
bird habitat.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act provides matching grants to
private and public organizations and to individuals to carry out wetland
conservation projects. For every grant dollar spent on U.S. projects
approved in March, project partners will add four dollars raised from other
sources. Grants funding comes from Congressional appropriations, monies
received from fines, penalties, and forfeitures under the Migratory Bird
Treaty Act of 1918; and from interest accrued on the fund established under
the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937. Amendments to the
Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950 directed that a portion
of the funds collected from Federal fuel excise taxes on small gasoline
engines be allocated for use under the Act for coastal ecosystem projects.
Over the last four years of the program, an average of $44 million has been
available annually from all sources.

Members of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission are Secretary of the
Interior Gale Norton, who serves as chair; Senators John Breaux and Thad
Cochran; Representatives John Dingell and Curt Weldon; Secretary of
Agriculture Ann Veneman; and the Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

U.S. projects receiving grants under the North American Wetlands
Conservation Act are:

Mobile-Tensaw Delta: Phase 2, Alabama: In partnership with the State of
Alabama and private conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife
Service will preserve, enhance and restore forested wetlands and freshwater
marshes in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.  This project will benefit a
substantial waterfowl population as well as neotropical migrants, fish
species and wetland communities.  The project is funded by a $1 million
grant, matched by more than $3 million in partnership money.

Falcon Bottoms II, Arkansas: Funded by a $617,000 grant and $1.2 million
from partners, biologists will complete Phase II of the multi-phase Falcon
Bottoms project in Columbia and Lafayette counties.  Falcon Bottoms II will
complete the acquisition stage of the project, adding several tracts of
high-quality forested wetlands to make up the state-managed Falcon Bottoms
Natural Area.  This area will be restored and enhanced to benefit migratory
birds and wetland plant communities, and will provide recreation
opportunities, as well.

Humboldt Bay Enhancement, California: A $650,000 grant, along with $1.4
million in partnership funds, will help protect, restore and enhance 903
acres of salt, brackish and freshwater wetlands adjacent to Humboldt Bay,
along the Pacific Flyway in northern California.  The completed project
will provide breeding, migration and wintering habitat for migratory and
resident birds, fish, and other wildlife.

North Central Valley Wetland Habitat III, California: More than 17,000
acres of private, state and federal land in the North Central Valley will
be protected, restored and enhanced using a $1 million grant and $20
million in funds from federal and state agencies, private landowners and
the California Wildlife Conservation Board.  Wetlands in the Central Valley
support 60 percent of the Pacific Flyway's waterfowl population.  Twenty
percent of the nation's waterfowl either winters in or migrates through the
Central Valley.

Tulare Lake Basin Wetland Habitat, California: A $986,000 grant will be
matched by more than $11 million in partner funds to protect, restore and
enhance 25,398 acres of the historic Goose Lake and surrounding wetlands in
the Tulare Basin in Kern County.  Diverse partners such as the Semitropic
Water District, the Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited will
cooperate on the project.

Lower South Platte River Wetlands and Riparian Restoration I, Colorado:
Public and private partners will contribute $4.25 million to match a $1
million grant for wetland restoration and enhancement around the lower
South Platte River, from Denver to the Nebraska state line.  This area of
prairie, wetland and riparian habitat is one of the most important
migration and wintering areas in the state.  An estimated 30,000 to 40,000
mallards winter there, and three quarters of all bird species found in
Colorado use this habitat sometime during the year.

Playa/Riparian/Wetland Colorado Partnership, Colorado: Wetland resources
within the Colorado portion of the North American Waterfowl Management
Plan's Playa Lakes Joint Venture will be acquired, restored and enhanced
using a $1 million grant and $5.2 million in partner funding.  This area
provides wintering and foraging habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds and
attracts other birds such as hawks, woodpeckers, and great blue,
black-crowned and night herons.

Altamaha River Corridor Habitat Conservation, Georgia: With a $1 million
grant and $2 million in matching funds from a number of corporate partners
and conservation groups--including Georgia Pacific and International
Paper--the State of Georgia will acquire 2,418 acres of forested wetlands
in the Altamaha River corridor.  This project is part of the cooperative
South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative, created in 1999 to protect
habitat for waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds and other
vulnerable bird populations using a multi-partner approach.  Lands to be
acquired for this project are used by federally threatened and endangered
species such as bald eagles, shortnose sturgeon and wood storks.

Kootenai Valley Wetlands, Idaho: A project in Boundary County will protect
and restore nearly 6,000 acres of wetlands and uplands that provide vital
habitat for 60,000 ducks, 7,000 geese, hundreds of swans and other
migratory shorebirds.  Using a $1 million grant and $5.4 million in
matching funds, partners will purchase a 350-acre easement to add to a land
donation from Crown Pacific Company.

Illinois River Basin -- Phase I, Illinois: Acquisition of a 2,466-acre
parcel of land will complete the restoration of a complex of drained lakes,
wetlands and bottomland forest along the Upper Illinois River floodplain in
Putnam County.  Partnership funds of $5.2 million will be added to a
$500,000 grant to acquire, restore and enhance the land in cooperation with
state and local governments and private organizations.  The area
historically hosted millions of mallards and black ducks; today, the
Illinois River Basin is an important route for migrating waterfowl and
shorebirds.

Hennepin-Hopper Lakes Restoration, Illinois: More than 5,000 acres will be
acquired, restored and enhanced as part of a multi-year project.  A grant
of $997,000 will be matched by $2.5 million from partners such as Ducks
Unlimited, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and private
landowners.  Some 25 percent of all ducks in the Mississippi Flyway use
this area in northeastern Illinois as a migration corridor.

Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Wetlands III, Indiana: A $1 million grant
will supplement $2.3 million in partner funds to acquire, restore and
enhance more than 1,100 acres of high-quality wetland habitat for migrating
waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds and neotropical birds.  The project area, on
the southern tip of Lake Michigan, is a major waterfowl and shorebird
migration route through the Great Lakes area, and biologists have
identified 337 avian species that occur in the area.

Iowa Prairie Waters Initiative, Iowa: An $899,000 grant will be
supplemented by $1.3 million in partnership funds to acquire, restore and
enhance nearly 9,000 acres of drained wetlands and prairie wetlands.  This
partnership is being fostered among multiple levels of government--federal,
state and county--as well as with private cooperators.

Great River Corridor Initiative, Iowa/Minnesota: Using a $985,000 grant and
$1.8 million in contributed funds, a number of partners will acquire,
restore and enhance 2,805 acres in southeastern Minnesota and eastern Iowa
to benefit waterfowl.  The project area lies along the Mississippi River,
one of the nation's most important bird migration corridors.

Chester River Watershed Conservation, Maryland: Partners, including the
State of Maryland and Queen Anne's County, will acquire 5,140 acres in the
Chester River Watershed near Chesapeake Bay using a $1 million grant and
$7.6 million in matching funds.  Wetlands to be acquired provide breeding
habitat for migratory waterfowl, amphibians, and plants unique to the area.

Holly Beach Farm, Maryland: Acquisition and restoration of Holly Beach Farm
will leverage a $1 million grant and more than $13 million in public and
private contributions to protect and enhance an area rich in wetland
habitat.  The 304-acre property is an important staging and wintering area
for migratory waterfowl including scaup, canvasback and ruddy ducks, a
breeding and stopover site for neotropical migrant songbirds, and a nesting
site for herons and bald eagles.

Nodaway Valley Conservation Area Wetlands Restoration, Missouri: More than
2,400 acres of bottomland hardwoods, wet prairie, marsh and other wetlands
will be restored and enhanced by multiple partners using a $1 million grant
and $3.2 million in matching funds.  Restoration of the project area, in
Holt and Andrew counties, will benefit resident and migratory waterfowl,
wading bids, shorebirds, and a variety of other species.

Great Bay Estuary Phase IV, New Hampshire: During Phase IV of a
multi-phase, public-private conservation effort, 2,019 acres will be
acquired in southern New Hampshire's Great Bay estuary.  The area is an
important wintering and resting area for migratory waterfowl, and serves as
the largest black duck wintering site in New Hampshire.  A $1 million grant
will be augmented by $2.2 million in partner funds to complete this
project.

Northeastern North Carolina Wetlands Initiative--Little Alligator River
(Futch) Tract, North Carolina: A $1 million grant and $2.1 million in
matching funds will be used to acquire, restore and enhance 2,603 acres in
northeastern North Carolina, partially compensating for the loss of habitat
as a result of coastal development.  Waterfowl, shorebirds, colonial
nesting waterbirds and landbirds will benefit.

Missouri Coteau Habitat Conservation II, North Dakota: More than 11,500
acres of wetland/grassland habitat will be acquired, restored and enhanced
using a $640,000 grant and more than $1 million in matching funds.  This
project is part of an ongoing, multi-agency effort to protect wetlands in
the prairie potholes of North Dakota.  These wetlands are critically
important migration and breeding habitat for waterfowl and other
wetland-dependant species.

Drift Prairie Wetland III, North Dakota: Public and private partners will
add $1.9 million to a $1 million grant for acquisition of 46,233 acres in
the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region in central North Dakota.  Wetland
habitat to be acquired is critical to many migrating birds.

Red Slough Enhancement and Restoration, Phase I, Oklahoma: Using $277,000
in grant money and $950,000 in matching funds, partners will acquire and
enhance 2,119 acres in Red Slough in southern Oklahoma.  This project is
part of an ongoing effort to restore the Red Slough area to benefit
migratory waterfowl and neotropical migrants.

Block Island Migratory Bird Wetlands II, Rhode Island: Migratory bird
habitat on Block Island will be acquired using a $500,000 grant and $7.6
million in partnership funds, part of a multi-year effort to protect
wetlands on the 6,000-acre island for the benefit of waterfowl.  The island
is an important wintering area for black ducks, mallards and wood ducks,
and provides shelter for numerous types of sea ducks during winter storms.

Katy Prairie Initiative II, Texas: As part of the multi-phase Katy Prairie
Initiative, a grant of $1 million and partnership funds of $2 million will
be used to acquire 2,297 acres of wetlands in Harris and Waller counties
near Houston.  The area is a mixture of farmland, wetlands, pasture and
riparian habitat that provides resting, nesting and foraging quarters for
some 25 percent of the mid-continent population of geese that winters along
the Texas coast.  The area also hosts fifteen species of ducks, including
pintails, green-winged teal and mallards.

Wetlands Restoration and Enhancement of Private Public Lands Texas Gulf
Coast IV, Texas: Important winter habitat for migrating waterfowl along the
Texas Gulf Coast will be restored and enhanced using an $852,000 grant and
more than $2 million in matching funds from the state, conservation
organizations and private landowners.  The restored land will provide
breeding habitat for mottled ducks and black-bellied whistling ducks, and
wintering spots for northern pintails, teal and redheads.  More than half
of the Central Flyway populations of ducks and geese winter along the Texas
coast.

Willapa Bay -- Phase I, Washington: Nearly $20 million in partner
contributions will supplement a $1 million grant, as federal, state and
private partners acquire, restore and enhance 4,423 acres in the Willapa
Bay in Pacific County.  Willapa Bay hosts some of the largest
concentrations of shorebirds on the Pacific Coast during spring and fall
migration, and the mudflats in the area provide forage for species such as
black brant and American wigeon.

Door Peninsula Coastal Initiative, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, private landowners and other
conservation organizations will contribute $2.1 million to supplement a $1
million grant.  Partners will acquire 901 acres of coastal wetlands and
uplands on the Door Peninsula, benefitting waterfowl, other migratory birds
and endangered species.

Wisconsin Northwest Pothole Habitat Initiative III, Wisconsin: A $1 million
grant will be leveraged by $3.1 million in partner funds to acquire,
restore and enhance 3,386 acres of wetlands.  This is the third in a
multi-phase project that will restore and protect some of Wisconsin's best
duck-producing habitat, enhance songbird production in the area, and
provide opportunities for public recreation.  Federal and state agencies,
as well as private conservation organizations, contributed funds.

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 manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands
of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and
hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

                                  - FWS -

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our
home page at http://www.fws.gov

News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at
http://news.fws.gov

Questions concerning a particular news release or item of information
should be directed to the person listed as the contact. General comments or
observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Mitch Snow
(Mitch_Snow@fws.gov) in the Office of Public Affairs.




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