Indiana Receives Grants for Endangered Species Conservation
Indiana has been awarded grants totaling more than $1.4 million to conserve endangered species. The two grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include $587,000 for Indiana bat conservation and $850,000 for least tern conservation. Many other wildlife species are expected to benefit from the projects.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources forestry and wildlife experts will utilize the $587,000 grant to develop Indiana bat conservation initiatives on the 150,000-acre state forest system. This proactive endangered species plan will address Indiana bat habitat and population issues on all of Indiana’s 10 state forest administrative units.
During the past 25 years, the population of Indiana bats has declined by about 50 percent. The species is dependent on forest land and caves for survival.
“This initiative will be the first of its kind in the country,” said Burnell Fischer, Indiana state forester. “It will serve as a model for conserving species on actively managed, harvested forest.”
The $850,000 grant will be used to acquire least tern nesting habitat and support a plan developed by Cinergy to protect the endangered shorebird. Least terns nest adjacent to Cinergy’s Gibson Generating Station in Gibson County. The nesting colony is one of two known to nest east of the Mississippi River.
Least terns are water birds. They are primarily white with a distinguishing forked tail. Their bill is sharp-pointed with a black tip. Least terns eat small fish and crustaceans by hovering and plunging headfirst into the water.
The grants were awarded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance and Land Acquisition Grant programs. The grants support up to 75 percent of the cost of habitat planning activities and land acquisition for federally endangered species. The programs were developed to help reduce conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species and land development and use.
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