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John Kanter: 603-271-2461
Liza Poinier: 603-271-3211
April 14, 2010                     

N.H. Fish and Game Eligible to Receive $740,673 in Federal Funds to Conserve Nongame Wildlife; Matching Funds Needed

CONCORD, N.H. -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced that the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is eligible to receive State Wildlife Grants through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, totaling $740,673, to conserve wildlife and their habitats. The State Wildlife Grants Program is designed to provide annual funding to fish and wildlife agencies that have established wildlife action plans.  New Hampshire’s plan has been in place since 2006.

"These federal funds provide more than 75% of the money available for New Hampshire to accomplish targeted conservation for species that are not hunted, fished or trapped," said John Kanter, Coordinator of Fish and Game's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. "We're clearly proud of the Nongame Program's successes, such as restoring Karner blue butterflies to Concord and bringing terns to the seacoast, but our challenges are steeper every year.  We're battling White Nose Syndrome, a devastating bat disease; and trying to save New England cottontails, which are on the brink of disappearing from New Hampshire," Kanter added. "Just being able to account for so many species is difficult; we don't even have basic information about the numbers and status of most of the creatures we care for, so gathering this data is a critical part of our mission."

To receive the available federal grant funds, Fish and Game's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program must provide matching funds from non-federal sources. Each year, the Nongame Program conducts a fundraising campaign to generate private donations, which the state matches up to $50,000 (the 2010 campaign is underway through June 30; donate by going to www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Nongame/support_nongame.htm). Volunteers, dollars contributed by conservation partners and other non-federal grants are also used as match to qualify for and use the federal funds.

One of the most important impacts of the State Wildlife Grant funding in New Hampshire has been the creation and leveraging of the N.H. Wildlife Action Plan.  It is used by a variety of agencies and organizations to rank the wildlife conservation impact of land protection efforts and identify the state's most valuable habitats. It has been adopted by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services for evaluating mitigation projects and is used by the Open Space Institute (OSI) and other organizations to rank land protection projects for funding.  OSI alone has pledged more than $1 million to protect highest value habitats in New Hampshire as identified by the Wildlife Action Plan.

"With this year's money, we'll be accelerating our efforts to save New England cottontails, to work with N.H. Audubon to prevent the further decline of whip-poor-wills and other shrubland birds, and to develop a recovery strategy for black racer snakes by following the movements of individuals using radio transmitters," said Kanter.

Across the nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute more than $76.5 million to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories to help conserve and recover imperiled fish and wildlife through the State Wildlife Grant Program. The $76.5 million dollar figure represents a significant increase in funding over the 2009 levels. Since the program's inception, Congress has provided over $573 million for conservation work on public and private lands.

"The State Wildlife Grant program is part of the Department of the Interior's ongoing commitment to the essential conservation efforts of states," said Salazar. "In our challenging economic climate, the program ensures that states will have the necessary resources to help conserve their highest priority wildlife, plants, and habitat -- an investment that will pay dividends for years to come."
 
Support for the State Wildlife Grant program has been advocated by Teaming with Wildlife, a coalition of more than 5,000 conservation-minded organizations and businesses (www.teaming.com) nationwide. The coalition is also working to support legislation that will dedicate greater and more reliable funding to wildlife conservation becoming necessary because of climate change. New Hampshire’s Teaming with Wildlife contact is Fish and Game wildlife educator Judith Silverberg (judith.k.silverberg@wildlife.nh.gov).

For more about the national State Wildlife Grant funding program, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov.

To learn more about the work of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, visit www.wildnh.com/nongame.

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