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42 Tribal Wildlife Grants Awarded in 16 States

WASHINGTON, DC, February 27, 2010 (ENS) – The Hopi Tribe will conduct an assessment of golden eagles in Arizona, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians will restore longleaf pine habitat in Alabama, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe will develop a Tribal Wildlife Management Plan for their reservation in New York, and in Washington state the Jamestown S’Kllalm Tribe will work towards restoring the Dungeness Elk Herd to its historic range.

These are just four of 42 Native American conservation projects in 16 states that will be funded by $7 million in grants announced Thursday by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

“Tribal Wildlife Grants are much more than a fiscal resource for tribes,” Salazar said. “The projects and partnerships supported by this program have enhanced our commitment to Native Americans and to the United States’ shared wildlife resources.”

A golden eagle in Arizona (Photo by soazart)

More than $50 million has gone to Native American tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program in the past eight years, providing funding for 400 conservation projects administered by 162 participating federally-recognized tribes.

The grants provide technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of projects that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat, including non-game species.

“The Tribal Wildlife Grants program has helped the Service to collaborate more effectively with Native American tribes in conserving and restoring the vast diversity of fish and wildlife habitat they manage,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould.

The grants are available to the 564 federally-recognized Indian tribal governments and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant program.

The grants have enabled tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve and enhance relationships with partners including state agencies, address cultural and environmental priorities, and heighten interest of tribal students in fisheries, wildlife and related fields of study.

Some grants have been awarded to enhance recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.

During the current grant cycle, tribes submitted a total of 137 proposals that were scored by panels in each Service Region using uniform ranking criteria. A national scoring panel recommended 42 proposals for funding.

On Monday, Salazar issued the Interior Department’s plan of actions to establish a comprehensive, department-wide policy for meaningful consultation with federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes as directed by President Barack Obama in his November 2009 Executive Order and memorandum signed at the White House Tribal Nations Summit.

In addition to recognizing the special legal status of tribal governments, respecting tribal sovereignty, supporting self-determination and self-governance, and improving communications while maximizing tribal input and coordination, the action plan creates a Tribal Consultation Team, comprised of senior department representatives and tribal leaders.

After the draft consultation policy has been circulated to tribes and tribal organizations for review and comment, the department will publish the revised draft in the Federal Register with a 60-day comment period. Within 90 days of the close of the comment period, Secretary Salazar will issue a Secretarial Order directing all Interior bureaus and offices to comply with the department-wide policy and its guiding principles.

Click here to view the Interior Department’s Plan to Develop a Tribal Consultation and Coordination Policy.

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