TPWD News Release — Nov. 12, 2007
The Wildlife Diversity Conservation Grants Program is funding the project with money generated from sales of the Texas Horned Lizard vehicle license plate.
“This funding is unique because it represents thousands of Texans that have purchased a Horned Lizard license plate knowing that it’s going towards nongame conservation,” said Matt Wagner, TPWD wildlife diversity program leader.
The Texas Wildlife Action Plan is a proactive strategy to keep common species common. It focuses mainly on “nongame” wildlife, animals that are not hunted or fished, including some that are not yet rare but could become so if proactive steps are not taken soon. Each year, threatened and endangered species receive funding through the Endangered Species Act and game animals receive support through hunter dollars spent on licenses, firearms, and ammunition.
“What’s been missing is a fund dedicated to nongame species,” said Wagner. “This plan fills a void and identifies priorities from a habitat perspective in the 10 ecoregions of the state. It also ranks priorities for nongame birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and numerous aquatic species.” By focusing on habitat protection and restoration, the plan benefits all wildlife, including game animals and rare species.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking for innovative ideas on how to build partnerships with landowners to restore native habitats and incorporate land management strategies for all wildlife, in particular the lesser-known species.
“We know of declines of certain nongame animals such as horned lizards and box turtles, and most of the time it all goes back to habitat,” said Wagner. “We want to measure the benefits of habitat restoration, and we’ll be particularly seeking grant projects that include wildlife monitoring to measure results.”
Eligible applicants include Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff, other natural resource agencies, land owners and managers, universities, conservation organizations, land trusts and Indian tribal governments. Proposals must be received by Dec. 15, 2007.
Forms and guidelines to apply for grants, and the Texas Wildlife Action Plan, may be found on the TPWD Web site. Information about conservation license plates to benefit wildlife diversity, big game, largemouth bass fishing, state parks and wetlands is also online.
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