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GLIN==> DOI Announces Funding for Wetlands Projects U.S./Canada - Great Lakes States






Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5636


   Norton Announces Funding for Wetlands Projects, Additions to National
                             Wildlife Refuges

Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced today that the Migratory Bird
Conservation Commission approved more than $27 million for wetland habitat
conservation in the United States and Canada to benefit migratory birds and
other wildlife. At the same time, the Commission also approved the
acquisition of nearly 16,000 acres of important migratory bird habitat to
be added to units in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Commission's action will provide funding to states and other partners
through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to conserve
habitat for migratory birds. Also, the Commission used money from the sale
of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, the Duck Stamp, to
purchase key tracts of land for the Service's National Wildlife Refuge
System in six states.

"We are working to make good on President Bush's goal of restoring,
enhancing and protecting 3 million acres of wetlands over the next five
years," said Secretary Gale Norton, who chairs the Commission.  "With this
round of NAWCA proposals, we are set to restore nearly 22,000 acres,
enhance nearly 89,000 acres, and protect more than 217,000 acres of
wetlands around the nation."

"President Bush's support for wetlands conservation was clearly evident
when he approved the reauthorization of the North American Wetlands
Conservation Act, renewing that commitment and supporting increased funding
through this outstanding public-private partnership program.  Wetlands
provide excellent habitat for wildlife, and provide millions of Americans
with a broad range of outdoor recreational opportunities."

Working with Partners to Conserve Wetlands

The NAWCA Standard Grants Program will fund 22 projects in 13 states for
more than $20.5 million to protect or restore more than 1.1 million acres
of wetlands and associated upland habitats. Project partners will
contribute up to $150 million.  A list of grants appears at the end of this
release.

Since 1990, more than 2,000 partners have been involved in more than 1,000
projects made possible through the Standard Grant Program. Canadian,
Mexican and U.S. partners focus on protecting, restoring, and enhancing
wetland habitat. Project partners must minimally match the grant request at
a one-to-one ratio.  More than $600 million has been invested through the
Act and total partner contributions exceed $1.7 billion. More than 22
million acres of wetlands and associated uplands have been affected across
the continent.

The Commission also approved more than $6.4 million in funding for 13
projects in Canada. Partners there are adding more than $15.4 million to
conserve 98,000 acres of wetlands.

"Since many of North America's waterfowl species are dependent on breeding
habitat in Canada it is important that we use our NAWCA funds to conserve
habitat there as well," said Service Director Steve Williams.  "All of this
work with partners will help us continue to improve habitat conditions and
promote solution oriented conservation of migratory birds and other
wildlife for future generations."

Funding for this program comes from Congressional appropriations, funds
collected from fines, penalties, and forfeitures under the Migratory Bird
Treaty Act, interest accrued to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration
Act, and from excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through Wallop-Breaux
Amendments to the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act.

Federal Duck Stamp Revenues for Conservation

The Commission approved more than $15.5 million in Federal Duck Stamp funds
to acquire land for the National Wildlife Refuge System. All acquisitions
were previously approved by the affected states.

"Sportsmen and women have contributed a great deal to the development of
the National Wildlife Refuge System," Norton said. "Money raised by the
sale of Federal Duck Stamps pays for this land acquisition. Since the first
Duck Stamp sale in 1934, nearly $700 million has been raised to purchase
more than five million acres of wetlands for the refuge system."


The Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 established the Migratory Bird
Conservation Commission to approve land to be purchased for the National
Wildlife Refuge System with monies from the Migratory Bird Conservation
Fund. The fund is supported by revenue collected from Federal Duck Stamp
sales, import duties collected on arms and ammunition, right-of-way
payments to the refuge system, and receipts from national wildlife refuge
entry fees. For more information about the Federal Duck Stamp program
please visit <http://duckstamps.fws.gov>.

The Commission meets three times a year to approve funding proposals.
Permanent Commission members are Interior Secretary Norton, Senators Thad
Cochran and John Breaux; Representatives John Dingell and Curt Weldon;
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman; and Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Mike Leavitt.


Description of approved NAWCA projects include:

     Ducks Unlimited and eight partners will receive $1 million and
contribute up to $2 million for a project called Minnesota Marshes Phase I,
to conserve more than 4,500 acres of wetlands.

     Pheasants Forever and seven partners will receive $1 million and
contribute up to $4.5 million for a project called Prairie Wetland Heritage
Conservation Initiative Phase III to conserve more than 9,300 acres of
wetlands in Minnesota.

     Ducks Unlimited and six partners will receive more than $998,000 and
contribute up to $2 million for a project called  Southeast Wisconsin
Coastal Habitat Initiative Phase IV, to conserve more than 2,000 acres of
wetlands.

     The Little Traverse Conservancy and six partners will receive $1
million and contribute up to $4.7 million for a project called St. Mary's
River Bird Migration Corridor Phase II, to conserve more than 1,400 acres
of wetlands in Michigan.

     Ducks Unlimited and 18 partners will receive $1 million and
contribute up to $2.6 million for a project called Winnebago System Rush
Lake Initiative to conserve more than 6,000 acres of wetlands in Wisconsin.


For summaries of funded U.S. Standard Grant projects, please see <
http://birdhabitat.fws.gov/NAWCA/projects/USprojects/standardgrants090804/USstandardgrantsprojects.html

>.

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 544 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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