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TPWD News Release — Jan. 29, 2007

USFWS Grant To Help Conserve Guadalupe River Delta

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced $18.8 million in grants to 14 states under the National Coastal Wetlands Grant Program to help conserve, restore and protect coastal wetlands. This includes an important project to protect habitat for fish and wildlife in the delta formed where the Guadalupe River flows into San Antonio Bay on the Texas coast.

National Coastal Wetlands Grants are used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands for long-term conservation benefits to wildlife and habitat.

"One of this program’s many strengths is its support of the states’ own coastal conservation priorities," said H. Dale Hall, USFWS Director. "The coastal areas supported by this program represent essential habitat for aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Not only will these funds be used to support recovery of imperiled species, they will also help prevent species from becoming threatened by restoring and protecting the coastal areas where they live."

The Service awards the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants to state agencies through a competitive process. The program is funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, with money generated from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels.

For one grant project, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has partnered with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust to leverage nearly $400,000 in federal grant funds with nearly $200,000 in partner funds. This will aid Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust in acquiring fee title to approximately 689 acres of coastal habitat for perpetual conservation.

The property is 93 percent wetlands and contains 4.35 miles of riparian streams in the Guadalupe River Delta. The diversity of habitats and its proximity to the coast make the delta a key breeding, stop-over and wintering habitat for migratory birds as well as an important nursery for fisheries species. It is part of the San Antonio Bay system, which is the winter home of the world’s last wild population of endangered whooping cranes.

The project will help create a corridor of conserved lands, benefit existing projects and promote future partnerships. The project builds on the fact that 147,377 acres of land are already protected in the area, including the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and the Guadalupe Delta Wildlife Management Area.

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