September 6, 2013

Two MDIFW Projects Awarded Federal Funding

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce that two department projects have been chosen to receive nearly $540,000 of federal funding as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s annual Competitive State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program.

One of the grants will allow IFW, along with partners New Hampshire and Massachusetts, to work on filling critical knowledge gaps on the basic ecology, distribution and abundance of 27 species of greatest conservation need along the Gulf of Maine’s coastal marine ecosystem.

As part of this project, IFW and its partners will identify areas of exceptional species diversity and develop digital maps of these important habitats in the Gulf of Maine. The researchers will then develop habitat models and maps which can then be used to predict other important areas with similar habitat features.

Due to its high wind potential, Maine’s coastal region has drawn the interest of many offshore energy developers, meaning this data will be especially useful when trying to minimize the effects of wind turbines on these ecosystems. The data from this survey will allow IFW to provide assistance during the planning stages of energy development projects in the region and assist in the proper siting of these projects with the delicate ecosystems in mind.

The federal funds for this project, which are appropriated annually by Congress, amount to nearly $500,000 with $200,000 in additional non-federal match funding.

The second SWG-funded project will enable IFW to review and update the Maine Wildlife Action Plan to address threats to the state’s species and habitats. The revised plan will provide better guidance at the scale of specific management regions, outline a strategy to achieving goals and provide usable data to non-governmental conservation partners.

The approximately $40,000 SWG grant combined with a non-federal match of $13,200 will fund the project.

SWG provides federal grant funds for developing and implementing programs that benefit wildlife and their habitats. Funds must be used to address conservation needs such as research, surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring.