USDA PROVIDES $5 MILLION FOR SAGE GROUSE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY IN 11 STATES
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner today announced that $5 million is available for special projects to protect and enhance Greater sage grouse habitat in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
"This funding is part of President Bush's continuing commitment to protect wildlife," said Conner. "These funds will boost existing efforts and partnerships with private landowners, local organizations and state agencies to improve the viability of the sage grouse," said Johanns.
The sage grouse, a bird native to the Great Plains and western United States, has seen a decline in population over the past two decades. Private lands comprise 28 percent (40 million acres) of the total acreage where existing Greater sage grouse populations are threatened; the remaining acreage is on state, tribal and public lands.
The funds announced today will be provided through three voluntary conservation programs: $2.7 million from the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), $1 million from the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and $1.3 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
GRP, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency, helps ranching and farming operations protect and enhance grassland, rangeland, shrubland and certain other lands and provides assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. These GRP funds will be used for permanent easements on native sage grouse habitat that is under threat of conversion.
WHIP and EQIP provide financial and technical assistance for sage grouse habitat projects that provide the maximum benefits from partners' contributions, encourage and reward advance planning, and help implement the NRCS Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Action Plan. WHIP provides technical and financial assistance to landowners and others to develop upland, wetland, riparian and aquatic habitat areas on their property. EQIP promotes environmental quality and assists producers to meet local, state and federal regulations.
A state-by-state list of the programs and funding for Greater sage grouse habitat conservation follows.
State GRP WHIP EQIP
California $500,000 $565,302 $142,316
Colorado $525,000 $68,559 $0
Idaho $0 $27,021 $0
Montana $525,000 $30,243 $0
Nevada $0 $0 $216,667
North Dakota $0 $24,033 $148,695
Oregon $0 $125,250 $0
South Dakota $0 $61,622 $296,047
Utah $550,000 $0 $202,188
Washington $0 $0 $133,333
Wyoming $550,000 $129,194 $179,530
TOTAL $2,650,000 $1,031,224 $1,318,776
Additional information on NRCS voluntary conservation programs is available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.