Bringing Back Endangered Wildlife
We can celebrate numerous success stories since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Conservation efforts have helped to bring the California condor, grizzly bear, Okaloosa darter, whooping crane, and black-footed ferret back from the brink of extinction, according the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And many species that were once listed — including the iconic bald eagle — no longer require protection as endangered species.
A big part of saving imperiled species is conserving the habitat they need. Since more than half of all species that are currently listed as endangered or threatened rely on habitats on privately owned land, the Endangered Species Act includes provisions to help conserve those habitats. Section 6 of the act makes grants available for land acquisition or easements that benefits candidate, proposed, or listed species. While the grant process can be complicated, the potential to fund vital habitat conservation is significant!
How Endangered Species Grants Work
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers Section 6 grants to fund conservation on non-federal lands. The grants are awarded to states or territories and can be used to purchase land or easements. Land trusts can play a key role, which may include identifying properties with valuable habitat, communicating with landowners, engaging government partners, coordinating the project, negotiating terms, and applying for grants.
A minimum 25% non-federal match is required, except when two or more states or territories implement a joint project, in which case the minimum non-federal match is 10%.
Section 6 grants are routinely funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). We consistently push for adequate funding for Forest Legacy and other federal conservation programs. See a chart of year-by-year funding levels.
Habitat Conservation Plans: This program allows states or landowners to establish habitat preserves in exchange for the release of limited habitat lands for development. While some plans involve a single landowner, others are much more sweeping and complex. Grant funding is available to create the plans and to acquire land in accordance with the plan.
Recovery Land Acquisition: This program funds acquisition of habitat for the benefit of a federally listed endangered or threatened species. These projects must support the goals or objectives of a species recovery plan.
You can find more information on these grants on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. If you’re interested in pursuing a grant, the agency recommends contacting one of its Endangered Species Grants specialists in your region.