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Grants offered to fauna friendly

POULSBO — Most homeowners know how be a good neighbor to the folks next door.

But the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is also looking for landowners willing to practice similar concern for the wildlife that surrounds their property.

The WDFW recently announced the most recent round of funding in its Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). At the same time, another pot of grant money has been made available to interested property owners who apply by Dec. 31.

The LIP is a competitive grant process that awards holders of privately-owned lands as much as $50,000 to complete projects aimed at helping at-risk species. Listed species include: fish like the Chinook and coho salmon and bull trout; butterflies like the Great Arctic and Oregon Silverspot; birds like the Aleutian Canada Goose, common Loon and white-headed Woodpecker; insects like the Beller’s ground beetle; and amphibians like the Cascade Torrent salamander and the Northern leopard frog.

“This is money awarded to landowners to help any kind of species at risk,” WDFW biologist Jeff Skriletz explained.

Grant awardees have up to four years to spend the money and must provide a certain portion of matching — either money or in-kind.

One of the projects recently awarded money concerned a private landowner near Big Valley in Poulsbo who had a culverted section of Dogfish Creek. The grant award will replace the culvert, which has become blocked with sediment and makes fish passage difficult, with a small bridge and also pay for riparian replantings.

“Fish passage is a pretty common one,” Skriletz commented. “It’s a pretty easy fix and you can see the benefits almost immediately. So we do like those kinds of projects.”

Landowners interested in receiving grants need not be professional biologists to apply. Applicants usually work with expert groups like salmon enhancement organizations or Ducks Unlimited in preparing their final request to the board. Skriletz said the WDFW can even offer assistance in getting the grant hopeful in touch with the correct authorities.

“By the time they get all that input, they’re usually pretty darn good projects,” Skriletz commented.

Applications are now being taken for the newest pot of $760,000 in grant money and Skriletz said he’d encourage anyone who lives in close proximity to an at-risk species to consider making a request.

“It doesn’t hurt to apply,” he said. “We’d really like to get a real diversity of projects. We’d like to pick up some of the species that don’t get as much support.”

Sidebox:

Landowners Incentive Program

A downloadable application form and instructions are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/lip/.

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