Tribes Receive $4.2 Million in Conservation Grants

Tribes Receive $4.2 Million in Conservation Grants

WASHINGTON, DC, March 16, 2012 (ENS) – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced more than $4.2 million in Tribal Wildlife Grants to 23 Native American Tribes in 17 states to fund a wide range of conservation projects ranging from salmon restoration to invasive species control.

“Native American tribes have a deep and abiding knowledge of the land and its wildlife handed down from generation to generation,” Salazar said. “Through these grants, we are building on our long-standing partnership with tribal nations to manage our wildlife and its habitat more effectively across the country.”

Snail kite with snail (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $54 million to Native American Tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants Program since 2003, providing support for more than 350 conservation projects administered by participating Federally-recognized tribes. The grants provide technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of projects that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat, including non-game species.

“Native American Tribes manage more than 100 million acres of vital fish and wildlife habitat across the nation and have a long heritage as stewards of the land and its wildlife,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe. “These grants will help ensure that they have the resources to tap into their vast knowledge and experience to best manage these lands.”

The Miccosukee Tribe of Florida will be a partner in efforts to restore habitat for the endangered Everglades snail kite on the Miccosukee Reservation and surrounding lands totaling more than 260,000 wetland acres.

The tribe is also pursuing its ability to restore and enhance aquatic habitat for native fisheries, and reduce mercury exposure for Tribal members in the heart of the Florida Everglades, where nearly 90 percent of the waters are covered by consumption bans due to toxic levels of mercury in fish. A $199,000 grant will help the tribe increase its fish-rearing and stocking capability.

“The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida looks forward to the development of the Aquatic Repopulation Center funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Miccosukee Tribe Chairman Colley Billie. “The project will allow our Tribal members to enhance endangered species habitat, create opportunities for our youth, preserve cultural knowledge, facilitate training opportunities and provide subsistence resources to the Tribe.”

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community will inventory, manage, protect, and enhance wildlife and habitat resources on the 118 acres of tidelands, nearshore, and old growth forests of Kukutali Preserve on the Swinomish Reservation in Washington state.

A key element will include the creation of a 50-year management plan for the Kukutali Preserve by the Tribe and Washington State Parks as co-owners and managers of the Preserve. The restoration project is designed to protect the threatened Skagit Chinook salmon by providing protection to critical rearing habitat.

Continued funding for the Chickaloon Native Village of Alaska supports the Matanuska Watershed Salmon Habitat and Restoration Project which serves as a broad initiative to restore natural landscapes, habitats, species and traditional cultural practices. Previous grants have been utilized to conduct salmon restoration in Moose Creek, restore and evaluate side channel habitat in the Matanuska River for salmon.

Project workers restored Moose Creek, a critical salmon spawning route which was disrupted in the early 1900 when blasting for a locomotive rail cut off fish passage. Tribal leaders now say they are seeing salmon in upstream reaches that they had only heard about from their elders.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.

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