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GLIN==> Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Restores More than 1 Million Acresof Fish and Wildlife Habitat

----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 06/06/2001 02:20 PM -----

                               NEWS RELEASE
                      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                      Great Lakes - Big Rivers Region

For Immediate Release         Contacts
May 29, 2001                  Steve Kufrin, 612-713-5447
EA 01-35                 steve_kufrin@fws.gov

         Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program restores more than
               1 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat

     Since 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) Partners
for Fish and Wildlife program (PFW) has worked in cooperation with
thousands of landowners and conservation partners to restore over one
million acres of privately owned fish and wildlife habitats.
     Originally a pilot project in western Minnesota, PFW was first offered
to local landowners to restore "prairie potholes." Since then, more than
24,000 landowners throughout the U.S. have voluntarily participated.
Approximately 526,000 acres of important wetlands, 550,000 acres of
associated uplands and 3,200 miles of riparian (stream-side) and in-stream
aquatic habitat have been restored through the program.
     In 2000, this popular Service program continued to assist private
landowners who are interested in voluntarily restoring important fish and
wildlife habitats. Voluntary participation allows landowners to retain all
previous ownership rights and responsibilities, including the right to
limit public access, on their restored habitats.
     To complete these cooperative projects on the local level, the
Service's fish and wildlife biologists have been supported by state and
local agencies, conservation organizations and individuals. Their generous
contributions of financial and in-kind services, including labor, materials
and equipment, have cost-shared construction of many of the restored
     "The 'Partners' program doesn't always receive the credit it should
for the important assistance and funding it provides for private
landowners. It is, however, an innovative and unique program for restoring
habitats that are critical to trust species, including migratory birds,"
acknowledged Bill Hartwig, regional director of the Service's Great
Lakes-Big Rivers Region.
     "Once these important habitats are restored, they are protected for no
less than 10 years through agreements between the Service and the
respective landowners. These agreements maintain and protect the restored
habitats, provide maximum benefits for fish and wildlife, and guarantee the
public tax dollars that have been invested into this cooperative program."
     Objectives of the PFW program are:
?    To restore essential wetlands, associated uplands and stream corridors
for the benefit of migratory birds, endangered species and native fish and
wildlife species on private, non-federal and tribal lands.
?    To promote and assist a net gain of America's wetland-acreage base and
wetland- dependent fish and wildlife species through on-the-ground project
?    To encourage the cooperation of non-federal partners to cost-share the
expenses of many restoration projects.
     "Private landowners are the stewards of more than two-thirds of our
nation's land and their participation in conservation is essential to the
long-term health of our fish and wildlife resources," observed Martha
Naley, national PFW coordinator.
     During 2000, about 56,000 acres of wetlands, 94,000 acres of native
grasslands, 8,000 acres of forested habitat, 390 miles of riparian habitat
and 100 miles of stream-side habitat were restored nationwide.
          In the Upper Midwest during 2000, Service biologists were
responsible for restoring almost 1,800 wetland basins amounting to more
than 6,900 wet acres. Also restored were at least 8,300 acres of upland
habitat, including more than 3,970 acres of native vegetation, at least
4,300 acres of non-native grasses, 70 acres of bottomland timber and more
than 50 miles of riparian and in-stream habitats.
                       RESTORATION SUMMARY 1987-2000
               IA   IL   IN   MI   MN    MO   OH     WI   Total
Wetland basins      1,202      283    1,025   1,405   12,660      268
401    4,259    21,503
Wetland acres        6,884   3,985    5,550   5,640   42,821   8,890
2,297  11,033    87,100
Upland sites             177        25      162         91       568
          79      163       815     3,567
Upland acres          1,487      363   1,248       562  14,123    3,169
          1,276    8,602   79,014
     Soil and water conservation values associated with PFW include
improving the quality of ground waters by reducing runoff and soil erosion;
enhancing water retention in wetland basins to reduce flooding; recharging
groundwater supplies; expanding recreational opportunities and conservation
education; and diversifying economic opportunities for local communities,
units of government and individuals.
     For specific information on the Partners for Fish and Wildlife
program, landowners in the Upper Midwest should contact their local Service
field station. Landowners and partners may also receive information through
the Service's Branch of Private Lands in the Regional Office by contacting
Steve Kufrin at 612-713-5447.

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 93-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 66
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.

For further information about programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service in the Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region, please visit our
website at http://midwest.fws.gov


  Our mission is working with others to conserve , protect, and enhance,
fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit to
                           the American people.

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