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Interior grants disbursed to conservation projects

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WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Interior Department Dirk Kempthorne announced March 21 that more than $6.2 million in grants will go to 38 American Indian projects in 18 states to fund a wide range of conservation projects nationwide.

''Tribal wildlife grants are much more than a fiscal resource for tribes. The projects and partnerships supported by this program have enhanced our commitment to Native Americans and to the United States' shared wildlife resources,'' he said.

More than $34 million has gone to American Indian tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program in the past six years, providing funding for 175 conservation projects administered by 133 participating federally recognized tribes. The grants provide technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of efforts that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat, including species that are not hunted or fished.

''The Tribal Wildlife Grants program has helped the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service to collaborate more effectively with Native American tribes in conserving and restoring the vast diversity of fish and wildlife habitat that they manage,'' added Interior's Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks

Lyle Laverty.

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 interest of tribal students in fisheries, wildlife and related fields of study. Some grants have been awarded to enhance recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.

The grants are provided exclusively to federally recognized tribal governments, and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 and through a component of the State Wildlife Grant program.

During the current grant cycle, tribes submitted a total of 110 proposals that were scored by panels in each service region using uniform ranking criteria. A national scoring panel recommended 38 proposals for funding.

The grants cover a wide range of conservation projects, including:

*A grant for $49,791 for the Band of Pomo Indians in California for the Big Valley Rancheria Clear Lake Hitch Study Project. The Clear Lake hitch is a culturally significant native fish in Clear Lake. This multi-tribal effort will seek to accelerate the recovery of this fish and to provide stock to other streams in the


*A grant of $62,604 to the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma will help manage the tribe's Wildlife Conservation Area which, among other things, includes the Grey Snow Eagle House (Bah Kho-Je Xla Chi), the first federally funded eagle rehabilitation facility in the United States. This facility cares for injured eagles that cannot return to the wild, rehabilitates eagles that are returned to the wild, and utilizes the eagles' natural molting

process to provide eagle feathers for Native religious and other ceremonies.

*A grant of $199,831 to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, located in Washington state, will help the tribe improve management of overstressed meadow habitat on its 1.4-million-acre Yakama reservation in south-central Washington. Meadows and wetlands in the managed forest occupy slightly more than 8,600 acres and include many ecologically and culturally important wildlife and plant species.

*The Lummi Nation of Washington state will receive a grant of $200,000 to support endangered species recovery work in the Nooksack River Basin. It will seek to restore degraded habitat identified as limiting the production of bull trout, steelhead, Chinook and other salmon.

*The Yurok Tribe of the Klamath River Reserve in northern California will get a $200,000 grant to reintroduce California condors to the Yurok ancestral territory. The condor is listed as an endangered species by federal and state agencies.



Native Village of Tetlin: $198,396 for a moose management and restoration project on Tetlin tribal lands

Aleut Community of St. Paul: $199,804 to establish the long-term trends of winter sea ducks, gulls and beach-cast birds on the Pribilof Islands

Sitka Tribe of Alaska: $180,316 for the stock identification of Pacific Herring in Sitka Sound

Native Village of Chickaloon: $199,491 for the Matanuska Watershed Salmon Habitat Restoration and Research Project


Poarch Band of Creek Indians: $200,000 for the reintroduction of gopher tortoises in restored longleaf pine habitat, and the Red Cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Agreement


Colorado River Indian Tribes: $82,967 for a mesquite resource assessment and the Mesquite/Wildlife Integrated Resource Management Plan


Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians: $49,791 for the Big Valley Rancheria Clear Lake Hitch study

Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake: $48,498 for the Clear Lake Hitch Study and Recovery Project

Karuk Tribe of California: $100,000 for the Bluff Creek Habitat Protection Project

Yurok Tribe: $200,000 for the Yurok Tribe Condor Release Initiative

Robinson Rancheria: $194,936 for the Clear Lake Hitch study


Miccosukee Tribe of Indians: $199,938 for the implementation of the Miccosukee Fisheries Management Plan


Sac and Fox Tribes of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki): $195,195 for Meskwaki buffalo herd and prairie restoration


Nez Perce Tribe: $200,000 for the restoration of bighorn sheep and habitat along the Main Stem of the Salmon River

Idaho and Nevada

Shoshone Paiute Tribe - Duck Valley Reservation: $199,469 to restore the habitat and monitor the impacts of West Nile Virus on the Duck Valley Reservation's greater sage-grouse population


Aroostook Band of Micmacs: $48,957 to the band's wildlife habitat enhancement project

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians: $114,645 for the aquatic habitat study of the Meduxnekeag Watershed


Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians: $199,944 for Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia surveillance and detection in Grand Portage Waters and within the 1854 Ceded Territory

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe: $200,000 for the assessment of double-crested cormorant predation effects on selected fish species and colonial waterbird management on the Pelican Island complex in Leech Lake

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians: $196,015 for gray wolf inventory, monitoring, and management plan development


Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes: $197,000 for the restoration of the swift fox on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and northeastern Montana

Crow Tribe: $200,000 for the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Conservation and Restoration Program

New Mexico

Mescalero Apache Tribe: $186,762 for a comprehensive habitat inventory for the restoration of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation

Pueblo of Jemez: $196,836 for developing management plans for critical species on Jemez Pueblo

Pueblo of Picuris: $199,941 to develop wildlife management capabilities and baseline assessments for key species on the Picuris Pueblo

Pueblo of Santa Clara: $199,785 for riparian wetland restoration at the Black Mesa Oxbow


Moapa Band of Paiute Indians: $65,397 for the Muddy River Habitat Enhancement Project


Iowa Tribe: $62,604 for the development of a comprehensive management plan for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma's Wildlife Conservation Area


Burns Paiute Tribe: $11,554 for the elimination of fish loss within a Burns Paiute Tribe irrigation site

Rhode Island

Narragansett Indian Tribe: $199,931 for Indian Cedar Swamp Brook riparian and wetland restoration

South Dakota

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe: $133,890 for black-footed ferret habitat, recovery and monitoring

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe: $200,000 for research and management for black-footed ferret and prairie dog populations; balancing culture, conservation and conflict

Oglala Sioux Tribe: $200,000 for Kit Fox (Swift Fox) society


Cowlitz Tribe: $199,700 to establish a Cottonwood Island sub-population of Columbia White-tailed Deer

Lummi Indian Nation: $200,000 for the South Fork of Skookum Reach Restoration Project

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe: $168,745 to establish baseline ecological information on the Indian and Elwha Valley elk herds of the Olympic Peninsula

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation: $199,831 for the Meadow Habitat Restoration Project


Stockbridge Munsee Community: $192,690 for the Stockbridge Munsee Fish and Wildlife Project