The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for 173 habitat restoration projects on public and private lands throughout the nation. The projects, which total $50 million, range from demolition of structures preventing fish from accessing spawning and feeding areas; reforestation projects; decreasing the impact of Service buildings on the surrounding environment; and removal of invasive plants. The vast majority of the projects occur on private lands, where landowners committed to managing their property for the benefit of native fish and wildlife have turned to the Service for financial and technical assistance.
All projects deemed worthy of funding met three key criteria:
- They address the highest priority mission needs for the Service.
- They create the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time.
- They create lasting value for the American public.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s habitat restoration projects include:
Pine Rockland Habitat in South Florida
$400,000 in Recovery Act funding will be used for the removal of invasive exotic species on 200 acres of private lands and 300 acres of public lands through partnerships with private landowners. Pine rockland is a globally imperiled ecosystem that occurs only in south Florida and the Bahamas. It is important habitat for six federally listed plant species and eight federal candidate plant species as well as other species of rare plants. Visit the South Florida Coastal Program Office project page to learn more about the pine rockland invasive species control project.
National Elk Refuge, Wyoming
$3.2 million in Recovery Act funding will be used to install an irrigation system and establish grasslands on upland areas of the National Elk Refuge, where major concentrations of elk overwinter. Historically, these elk have relied upon artificial feeding programs to sustain them through the winter. This project will allow increased forage production on over 5,000 acres of land and provide an expanded area for natural foraging which reduces artificial crowding of animals and associated tendencies for disease spreading among the herd. For more information, check out the National Elk Refuge project page.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida
$500,000 in Recovery Act funding will be used to restore habitat at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge along the central coast of Florida. The primary goal of this project is to provide improved habitat for the endangered Florida scrub jay.
Teddy Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Mississippi
$500,000 of Recovery Act funding will be devoted to rehabilitation of levees, drilling of water wells and installation of water control structures to enable predictable management of 3,400 acres of wetland habitat utilitzed by thousands of overwintering waterfowl and other migratory birds.
Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge in California
$245,000 of Recovery Act funding will enable construction of water control infrastructure that enables conversion of 1,300 acres of land into a conservation management capability that alternates between managing the land as cropland and wetland, enriching use of the land for wildlife. Tule Lake is within one of the largest concentration points for migratory waterfowl in the world and these wetland units will be available for use by hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and a variety of other wetland associated wildlife. Check out the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge project page to learn more about this restoration project.