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US Fish & Wildlife Service conservation grants include $750K for wildlife on Florida beaches

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WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced nearly $35 million in grants to 20 states to enable collaborative efforts to conserve many of America’s imperiled species, ranging from the red cockaded woodpecker in the Southeast to a variety of bat species in the Midwest to a colorful flower in the Rocky Mountains. A list of the projects by state is available here.

Issued through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act), the competitive grants allow states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and protect habitat that benefits threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.

Included in the $35 million is $750,000 funding for a "Statewide Habitat Conservation Plan for Florida Beaches (35 Coastal Counties Statewide)"

The grant funding is provided through programs established to help advance creative partnerships for the recovery of imperiled species. This year, the fund will allocate approximately $7.4 million in grants through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants Program; nearly $18 million through the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition Grants Program, and $9.5 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program.

This grant will assist stakeholders in assimilating acquired data into a detailed draft of the HCP. Activities in the coastal area and their threats to listed species will be analyzed. The goal of the HCP is to allow ongoing beach structure protection measures while limiting and mitigating the adverse effects to federally listed nesting loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, green and hawksbill sea turtles, five beach mouse subspecies, and shorebirds, including wintering piping plovers. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is leading this effort in conjunction with builders groups, municipalities and others.

Photo: Florida beach mouse. Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service