Kansas City, Kan. – In an announcement made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Oct. 19, 2022, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will receive a portion of more than $66.7 million in matching grants to be distributed across 16 states and Guam in support of imperiled species. The grant dollars are made possible by the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund – grants that contribute millions annually to support implementing state and territorial programs that conserve and recover federally listed and at-risk species on non-federal lands.
“This grant funding makes it possible for us to conserve nearly 1,600 acres of critical wetland habitat that will not only benefit species most at risk, but many other species that depend on wetlands for food, shelter and respite during migration,” said KDWP Secretary Brad Loveless. “We know we can’t conserve imperiled species without first conserving their habitat, so this is a great ‘next step’ towards paving the way for these projects, as well as future efforts to conserve critical habitat across our great state.”
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act and partly funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, $4,306,820 from the CESCF will be distributed to Kansas to support habitat conservation.
Of the more than $4.3 million in grant funding slated for the Sunflower State, $3,994,790 will be dedicated to wetland habitat conservation in support of Whooping Cranes and Eastern Black Rails, with the remaining $312,030 supporting Kansas’ Aquatic Safe Harbor Agreement.
“Thanks to decades-long partnerships like the one we have with Ducks Unlimited, we’ve been able to restore, renovate, and protect critical habitat for a variety of native species,” said KDWP Assistant Secretary Stuart Schrag. “Now, being the recipient of this federal Recovery Land grant for the first time ever only elevates what KDWP and Ducks Unlimited can do together to positively impact critical landscapes and the wildlife that depend on them.”
Ducks Unlimited – a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl – played an active role in KDWP’s grant application process, recognizing the vital importance of stopover habitat for the federally-endangered Whooping Crane, as well as nesting and brood rearing habitat for the federally-threatened Eastern Black Rail.
“The partnership between KDWP, Ducks Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to secure these funds is a prime example of how collaboration can greatly benefit imperiled species,” said Matt Hough, Manager of Conservation Programs in Kansas for Ducks Unlimited. “Working together toward the common goal of conserving wildlife are what these relationships are all about, because when we protect wetlands and associated habitats, both wildlife and people benefit.”
To learn more about threatened and endangered species in Kansas – including the recovery plans KDWP has in place to guide research and management of listed species – click HERE.
To learn more about the CESCF grant program, click HERE.