New Report Shows Landmark Success of Wildlife Grants Program
RALEIGH, N.C. (May 26, 2006) ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ The nationÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s 50 state fish and wildlife agencies arenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢t waiting around for more wildlife to be listed on the Endangered Species List. According to a new report that documents the last five years of the State Wildlife Grants Program, state fish and wildlife agencies are working ahead to prevent threats to habitat, population and health, and making a real difference for AmericaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s wildlife.
TheState Wildlife Grants Program is the nationÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s core program for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered, according to the "State Wildlife Grants Five-Year Accomplishment Report." From restoring bog turtle populations in North CarolinaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s mountain wetlands to monitoring the stateÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s freshwater mussel populations, the program has been a model for conservation success. Despite the success of the last five years, the program received a major cut in funding by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, recommending only $50 million of the $74.7 in the PresidentÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s budget.
Prior to the creation of State Wildlife Grants Program, there was virtually no federal funding focused on preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. Congress addressed this need in 2000, when, at the urging of theTeaming with Wildlife Coalition, they created State Wildlife Grants. In a survey of 32 states, State Wildlife Grants were the single largest source of funds for wildlife diversity programs. The program has been a boon to struggling state wildlife diversity budgets. Since 2001 when North Carolina received its first State Wildlife Grant, the Wildlife Resources Commission has spent more than $8.7 million on programs and projects benefiting nongame wildlife and their habitats. A few of these programs and projects include:
A survey and monitoring program to determine the range of the Carolina northern flying squirrel. Since 1995, the Commission has installed more than 1,000 nest boxes in western North Carolina, which help with capture and data collection. These boxes also may aid in population growth and help sustain the viability of these high-elevation mammals.
A social attraction/reproductive success study of terns and skinners on Parnell Island, near Oregon Inlet. Currently in their second year of this study, biologists have attracted hundreds of terns and skinners to nest and successfully fledged hundreds of chicks in 2005 by using decoys and a sound system that mimicked the call of the birds.
A tagging and monitoring program of the robust redhorse in the PeeDee River. Since 2004, Commission biologists have captured and tagged five specimens of this elusive fish to learn more about its movement patterns and preferred habitats.
A survey and monitoring program of green salamanders in western North Carolina. This program will help biologists update the status of green salamander populations in the state and determine the need for continued research and conservation.
An urban wildlife pilot project in the Piedmont. Begun in 2004, this project works to promote open space conservation through land use planning and land conservation. This proactive approach steers development away from sensitive wildlife habitat and encourages compact communities with associated connected open spaces.
"We work with local farmers to improve wildlife habitat adjacent to fields; local governments to devise strategies to identify the most important remaining habitats; and college professors to learn about the current status of hundreds of wildlife species in an effort to preserve these species for future generations to enjoy," said Chris McGrath, wildlife diversity program coordinator for the Commission. "All of these things and more are only possible due to the funding provided by the State Wildlife Grants Program."
State Wildlife Grants have been hailed by Republicans and Democrats alike as vital to conservation efforts and an important investment for future generations of Americans. More than 170 Representatives and 56 Senators signed a letter asking that the program receive $85 million in FY 2007, just as it did in 2002.
"The State Wildlife Grants Program is an essential funding source for every state fish and wildlife agency and a core program for conserving our nationÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s wildlife," said Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), co-chair of the Congressional SportsmenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Caucus. "State Wildlife Grants save taxpayer dollars by preventing more endangered species listings, and I hope my colleagues in the Senate will join me in working to restore funding for State Wildlife Grants at $85 million."
The State Wildlife Grants Program is supported byTeaming with Wildlife, a national coalition of more than 3,500 groups representing state wildlife agencies, including the Wildlife Resources Commission, wildlife biologists, conservationists, hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, nature-based businesses, and many others who support the goal of restoring and conserving our nation's wildlife.
A copy of the "State Wildlife Grants Five-Year Accomplishment Report" is available at http://www.teaming.com/pdf/SWG_Report.pdf (pdf, 14.5 MB).
For more information about the North Carolina projects and programs supported by State Wildlife Grants funding, visit the Wildlife Resources CommissionÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org.
Last 30 North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commis Articles