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September 03, 2004
Contact: Ginna Correa, (360) 902-2478

$760,000 in federal funds available for 'species at risk' private lands habitat protection

OLYMPIA - Washington state's private landowners can now apply for grants that can be used to help protect, enhance and restore habitat for fish and wildlife "species at risk" on their land.

The funds are part of $760,000 in landowner incentive grants that will be distributed throughout the state by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Of the $760,000, $50,000 has been set aside for grants up to $5,000 each for smaller enhancement and restoration projects. For major projects, qualifying property owners can typically receive up to $50,000 in "Landowner Incentive Program" funds through an application process being administered by WDFW. All grants require landowners to make a 25 percent non-federal contribution, which could include cash or in-kind work.

WDFW Director Jeff Koenings said species stewardship on private property is especially important in Washington.

"More than half of Washington's land base is in private ownership, and it's clear that preservation of the state's rich fish and wildlife heritage will largely be determined by the ability of private landowners to help provide critical habitat for at-risk species," Koenings said.

A "species at risk" is defined as any fish or wildlife species that is federally or state listed as threatened or endangered, is proposed or is a candidate for listing as threatened or endangered, as well as any other animal determined to be at risk by WDFW.

Applications must be received no later than Dec. 31, 2004. Application forms and more information on the Landowner Incentive Program are available through WDFW regional offices, on the Internet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/lip/index.htm or by calling Ginna Correa, WDFW Landowner Incentive Program coordinator, at (360) 902-2478.