The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $7 million in Tribal Wildlife Grants that will go to 37 Native American Tribes in 16 states to fund a wide range of conservation projects.
Tribal lands provide important habitat for hundreds of species across the nation, and Tribal Wildlife Grants are a critical tool to help conserve them, said Service Acting Director Rowan Gould. These projects reflect our commitment to collaboration with Native American tribes and to our collective efforts to conserve fish, wildlife and plants for present and future generations.
More than $54 million has gone to Native American tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program since 2003, providing support for 335 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.
The grants have enabled tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve and enhance relationships with partners (including state agencies), address cultural and environmental priorities and heighten tribal students interest in fisheries, wildlife and related fields of study. Some grants have been awarded to support recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.
Examples of this years Tribal Wildlife Grants include:
The Native Village of Newtok in Western Alaska will use their own language, Yupik, to write a conservation plan in cooperation with six other federally recognized Tribes on Nelson Island. The conservation plan will assess the impact of climate change on wildlife through a traditional Yupik cooperative process among these Tribes who traditionally share subsistence resources on the island. Tribal members here rely on 80% of their diet intake directly from traditional foods found on and around Nelson Island. The Native Village of Newok will be working together with elders and hunters who are seeing numerous changes in plants, wildlife, soils and rivers; and will be coordinating with the Nelson Island Consortium and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
The Nisqually Indian Tribe is spearheading multi-partner restoration of the Ohop Valley in Pierce County, Washington. This full-scale ecosystem restoration project restores farmland to a forested valley with a functional creek and wetlands to benefit salmon and other native fish and wildlife. The project creates a wildlife corridor connected to protected wildlife lands along the Nisqually River and the adjacent Mashel River watershed and the forestry lands that stretch to Mount Rainier National Park. Once this project is complete, five miles of creek will have been fully restored along with the adjacent valley floor.
Information gained by monitoring water, re-vegetation success, and usage by fish and wildlife species will guide the future management and restoration of the ecological processes that support biodiversity in the valley. Of special interest in the Ohop valley are salmon, elk, beaver, waterfowl, and amphibians. The Nisqually Tribe will, for the first time, hire a permanent wildlife biologist to its Natural Resource staff.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina possesses a rich cultural history interwoven with the diversity of species native to the southern Appalachian Mountains. The flora and fauna found on the Cherokee tribal lands support ancient subsistence traditions and a complex spiritual connection to the landscape. In partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cherokee have greatly enhanced their understanding of the modern pressures brought about through development, invasive species, and habitat degradation.
The Wildlife Action Plan Tribal Grant supports the Tribe in sustaining ecosystem integrity and conserving native aquatic and terrestrial species and their associated habitats by building on this knowledge. With this award, the Tribe will build its ability to manage and conserve their precious fish and wildlife resources through long range integrated resource management planning. They will maintain viable populations of game and non-game species and manage their associated habitat to enhance game species. Finally, the Tribe will sustain and restore native fish populations of cultural and conservation concern.
The grants are provided exclusively to federally-recognized Indian tribal governments and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant program. The Request for Proposals for the 2012 grant cycle will be open until September 2, 2011.