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GLIN==> U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Private Stewardship Grants Awarded

Contact:  Patricia Fisher (202) 208-5634


      Under the new Private Stewardship Grant program envisioned by
President Bush when he was still Texas governor, the Interior Department's
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced 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.
      President Bush originally proposed the creation of the Private
Stewardship Grant program during a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in June
2000. The grants announced today, the first ever awarded under the program,
will benefit species ranging from the whooping crane in Nebraska to the
bald eagle in the state of Washington. Each grant must be matched by at
least 10 percent of the total project cost either in non-federal dollars or
in-kind contributions.
      "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. "By making these grants, we are
empowering citizens to restore habitat on their land and take other steps
to protect and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species."
      "Judging from the number of truly innovative grant proposals we
reviewed, landowners across the U.S. are eager to work with us to conserve
at-risk species," said Service Director Steve Williams. "We anticipate this
public/private partnership will result in significant conservation
achievements for wildlife and wildlife habitat."
      The Private Stewardship Grants 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 at-risk
species. Under this program, private landowners as well as groups working
with private landowners are able to submit proposals directly to the
Service for funding to support these efforts. President Bush has requested
funding of $10 million for this program in 2004.

      The following are some examples by state of the Private Stewardship
Grants funded today:


C      Fox Valley Land Foundation: Managing Habitat for the Threatened
Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid in    Northern Illinois ($79,500)
This project seeks to increase the number of eastern prairie fringed orchid
populations on private lands in northern Illinois through monitoring
activities and managing habitat to support stable or increasing


C     Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:  Muddy Creek "Friends of the
Mussels" Streambank Restoration and Riparian Protection ($75,000)
This project will help improve water quality and habitat for federally
endangered freshwater mussels such as the clubshell mussel, and state
listed freshwater mussels and fish species including the creek heelsplitter
mussel and the Ohio lamprey.  It will protect state listed riparian and
wetland plant species through revegetation of riparian areas with native
species; restoration of eroded streambanks using vegetative stabilization
techniques; fencing of livestock from streams, riparian, and wetland areas;
and wetland restoration.

      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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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, which distributes
hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting
equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
      For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
                 visit our homepage at http://www.fws.gov

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