Federal stimulus dollars to help Arizona wildlife

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August 31st, 2009

Funds to employ rural contractors and purchase Arizona products

The Arizona Game and Fish Department Landowner Relations Program (LRP) will use $110,000 in economic stimulus funds to actively support private land improvements that will benefit both wildlife and the people of Arizona. These dollars came to the department from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Grassland restorations, riparian area protection and pond improvements are just a few of the four or five new projects that could be completed in the next year because of these funds. The projects must also benefit federal trust species that includes things like migratory birds, threatened or endangered species, and to improve water quality.

Landowner Relations Program Manager Sal Palazzolo said, “Projects that can put greater numbers of people to work will probably get chosen over others. For example, it takes lots of people and materials to put in a new fence as opposed to a project that might only take one or two people.”

For most of the improvement projects, local private contractors will be hired to perform the work, but in some cases the private landowners themselves will oversee the project. Local goods will be purchased, when they can, to help try to stimulate the economy in that area.

In the last fiscal year the LRP assisted 50 to 60 private landowners in making improvements to their properties. Most of the projects were on larger ranches that help support large numbers of wild animals and their habitats in Arizona as well as provide for recreational opportunities for the public.

Over the last year $3 to $3.5 million has been secured in outside funding through hard work by the landowners and cooperative partnerships with the department through the LRP.

Palazzolo said, “It’s a great feeling in this tough economic time to be able to assist in projects that are good for wildlife and good for Arizona.”

For more information about the Arizona Game and Fish Department Landowner Relations Program go online to www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/landowner_relation.shtml

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