Federal program may be in danger
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The nation’s 50 state fish and wildlife agencies, including the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) do not want more wildlife to be listed on the Endangered Species List. According to a new report that documents the last five years of the federal State Wildlife Grants Program, state fish and wildlife agencies are working to prevent threats to habitat, population, and health, and they are helping to conserve these species.

The State Wildlife Grants Program is the nation’s core program for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. According to a report entitled “State Wildlife Grants Five-Year Accomplishment Report,” the program is a model for conservation success.
Despite the success of the last five years, State Wildlife Grants received a major cut in funding by the U.S. House of Representatives in March, recommending only $50 million of the $74.7 in President Bush's budget.

Prior to creation of State Wildlife Grants, there was virtually no federal funding focused on preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. Congress addressed this need in 2000 by creating the State Wildlife Grants program. In a survey of 32 states, State Wildlife Grants was the single largest source of funds for wildlife diversity (nongame) programs.

The State Wildlife Grants Five-Year Accomplishment Report highlights how these federal funds are addressing pressing conservation needs in each state. In Kansas, State Wildlife Grants funds are helping cattle farmers determine which grazing techniques will protect nesting grassland birds while also optimizing beef production.

The State Wildlife Grants program is supported by Teaming with Wildlife, a national coalition of more than 3,500 groups representing wildlife biologists, state wildlife agencies, conservationists, hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, nature-based businesses, and many others who support the goal of restoring and conserving our nation's wildlife.

The Senate Interior Subcommittee is scheduled to set funding levels for the State Wildlife Grants Program at the beginning of the week of June 26. For more information on the status of the State Wildlife Grants Program , visit the Teaming With Wildlife website, www.teaming.com.