The New York City-based Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has announced a three-year, $10.8 million grant to accelerate the implementation of state wildlife action plans in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
DDCF awarded the grant to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, which will work in partnership with the Conservation Fund, Ducks Unlimited, and other organizations across the Midwest. Most of the grant, some $9.5 million, will be directed to the protection of habitat identified as a priority in the wildlife action plans of the five states. The remaining funds will support educational efforts and the building of partnerships to advance implementation of the plans in the five states as well as across the region.
State wildlife action plans — comprehensive strategies mandated by Congress and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — take into account the broad range of a state's wildlife, including game, non-game, common, and endangered species. In developing the plans, state agencies identified and prioritized key wildlife habitat and brought together multiple stakeholders interested in local wildlife conservation, including academics, activists, scientists, and sportsmen, to establish a common conservation agenda that could achieve broad acceptance within each state.
"The state wildlife action plans are so valuable because they identify the wildlife habitats that state officials, scientists, conservationists, hunters, anglers, and others agree are priorities to protect now, while much of our wildlife is still abundant and habitat conservation is still cost-effective," said Dr. Mark Shaffer, director of DDCF's Environment Program. "This grant is designed to help implement the plans in five states that show great promise and help expand interest in the plans across the Midwest."