By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced $33 million in grants to 21 states to assist in the recovery of endangered species. Alabama was awarded a $one million land acquisition grant to purchase 812 acres along the Little Cahaba River in Bibb County.
In a written statement Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, “Our strong partnerships with states, landowners and local communities are the key to the successful protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species, and these grants will fund important conservation work. While dozens of imperiled species will benefit from these efforts, improving the health of our land and water will also help the people, communities and economies that depend on these resources.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said, “Ensuring the survival of imperiled species depends on long-term partnerships and voluntary landowner participation. The vital funding provided by these grants is matched by the states and leveraged to great advantage in helping conserve and recover some of the most imperiled wildlife in the country.” Presumably the state matching funds for this purchase will come from the controversial Forever Wild Program. State voters will vote on whether or not to continue the program in a ballot iniative in the November 6th election.
The Alabama grant will be used to purchase 812 acres of riparian and upland habitat along one mile of the Little Cahaba River and one mile of Six Mile Creek. The USFWS said that the purchase and preservation of the real estate will directly benefit multiple endangered and threatened species. “Protecting this tract will help in the recovery efforts for listed species, such as the goldlined darter, plicate rocksnail, flat pebblesnail, orange nacre mucket, and fine lined pocketbook.”
The area around the Little Cahaba is largely undeveloped. The USFWS said that the property has potential to help those aquatic species recovery. The USFWS said that the preservation of the property will also help the grey bat.
The USFWS said that acquisition of the 812 acre Hancock South Tract will help consolidate an area of adjacent conservation areas, which includes the Bibb County Glades TNC Preserve and the Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge.
The Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program provides funds to states and territories to acquire habitat for endangered and threatened species with approved recovery plans. The USFWS said that the government acquiring the land is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort for an endangered species.
To see list of properties that have already been acquired by Forever Wild: