Federal funds to focus on large-scale conservation projects


MINNEAPOLIS – Bumblebees, mussels and Karner blue butterflies are among imperiled species in the Midwest that will benefit from more than $2 million in grants through the Service’s Competitive State Wildlife Grants program. Midwest Region grant recipients include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin and will receive a total of six grants.

Locally, Northwest Ohio will share with Michigan over $600,000 in grant funds will control invasive species, implement prescribed fire, and assist private landowners in the development of habitat management plans for the butterfly and other local species of greatest conservation need, particularly the Karner blue butterfly populations.

The Competitive State Wildlife Grant Program grants focus on large-scale conservation projects to conserve and recover Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats. The Service awarded 15 grants, a total of $5.7 million to states across the country. This will be matched by more than $2.9 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners.

“We appreciate the strong ties formed by state agencies and their partners to protect these imperiled wildlife species and their habitats,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “The State Wildlife Grants program is a catalyst for collaborative conservation, and we look forward to continued partnership success for the future of America’s wildlife.”

This year, the Service encouraged state applicants to design projects to benefit pollinators, as well as other at-risk species. Successful applicants include the Michigan Department of Natural Resources who plans to gather native bee diversity data to better assess their conservation status in the state; Ohio and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources, who will restore oak savannah to benefit the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly; and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who will gather mussel distribution data to fill an invertebrate species information gap and better inform their State Wildlife Action Plan. This is a just a snapshot of the diverse wildlife projects happening in the Midwest; below is the complete list of projects receiving funding this year.

State Wildlife Grant-funded projects are identified in State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline the actions needed to conserve them over the long term.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Title: Oak Savanna Restoration and Monitoring for Karner Blue Butterfly Population Recovery

States: Michigan, Ohio

Federal Funds Requested: $500,000

Non-Fed Match: $175,676.

Goals and Objectives: Michigan and Ohio Departments of Natural Resources will restore and enhance at least 800 acres of oak savanna to benefit the Federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly in partnership with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Partners will control invasive species, implement prescribed fire, and assist private landowners in the development of habitat management plans for the butterfly and other local species of greatest conservation need. To evaluate the effectiveness of the restoration, an occupancy-based Karner blue butterfly survey will be conducted to evaluate this project’s impacts on butterfly populations in the project areas.