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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Announces More Than $19 Million in Grants to Protect Coastal Wetlands Across the Nation

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the award of more
than $19 million to support 24 conservation projects benefiting fish and
wildlife on more than 5,900 acres of coastal habitats in twelve states in
the U.S. through the 2011 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant
Program. These federal grants will be matched by over $21 million in
partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners
and conservation groups.

Here in Alaska, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and its project
partners were awarded $70,900 to help permanently protect approximately 87
acres in the form of privately-owned parcels within the 28,000-acre Palmer
Hay Flats State Game Refuge in Palmer, Alaska. The total project cost is
$112,900. These parcels contribute to the overall health of the fishery in
the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge and support salmon stewardship
education and outreach programs. Protection of these parcels has been
identified as a priority by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska
Region Coastal and Fish Passage Programs. Once acquired, these wetlands
would be managed as a part of the refuge.

“Our Nation’s coastal wetlands encompass large areas of vital habitat for
countless species of wildlife while providing important economic resources
and recreational opportunities for the American people,” Secretary Ken
Salazar said. “These grants will offer additional protection, restoration,
and enhancement of these precious habitats.”

The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded under provisions of the 1990
Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding is
provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an
excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels.

Including the 2011 grants, the Service has awarded nearly $260 million to
coastal states and territories since the program began in 1992. When the
2011 projects are complete more than 265,000 acres of habitat will have
been protected, restored or enhanced.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Service’s Coastal Program
provides strategic conservation planning and assistance in coastal areas.
It represents one of the Service’s most popular and effective programs for
voluntary, locally-based habitat restoration and protection efforts. With
climate change threatening to reduce coastal habitats, the public and
private partnerships garnered by the Coastal Program are essential.

A complete list of projects funded by the 2011 grant program can be found
online at: http://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/index.html.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for
the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and
trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our
work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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