State Wildlife Grants

Since 2002, Congress has annually appropriated funds for state nongame wildlife programs through the State Wildlife Grants, or SWG, program. Because this is only an annual appropriation, Congress must be lobbied extensively each year to assure funding is not cut. Money is awarded to each state on a project-by-project basis, with a requirement of 1:1 match using state or other non-federal sources. SWG funds may be used only for projects relating to "species of greatest conservation need" identified in the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan, and not for wildlife education or recreation projects. States have two years to seek approval for projects and obligate funding from each annual appropriation. While the need for continuing pressure on Congress and finding dollar-for-dollar match money is demanding, the program has nonetheless been extremely important

The State Wildlife Grants program has allowed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and its partners to accomplish so much more for Iowa's Natural Resources than was possible before its inception. State Wildlife Grants is the nation's most important program in keeping species from becoming endangered. It has brought an average of $760,000 a year (~$6 million since '01) into the state which has been matched in kind by the Department of Natural Resources and multiple partners. The money has helped protect more public land to aid species conservation while providing additional recreational opportunities for Iowa's citizens. It has funded vital research which has helped our land managers make the best decisions for wildlife. Finally, the money has been used to directly fund better management on our public lands.

Summary of programs the State Wildlife Grants money has funded or is currently funding

Bobcat Population Study
Bobcat Population Study

Iowa Stream Fish Golden Redhorse
Iowa Stream Fish
Golden Redhorse

Iowa Stream Fish
Iowa Stream Fish

Examples of some State Wildlife Grant Projects:

Bobcat Distribution and Population Dynamics: In order to conserve and manage populations of these interesting carnivores, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with Iowa State University (Wildlife Population Dynamics: Bobcat Landscape Ecology)began a study in 2003 to understand the distribution, abundance, and dynamics of bobcats in Iowa.

Bird Response to Enhanced Vegetation at Spring Run Study
This study is to compare the response of birds nesting in 4 different created habitat (grasslands) types commonly used on Wildlife Management Areas in NW Iowa.

Patch-Burn-Grazing Study: Our mission is to explore approaches to the restoration of native grasslands and associated biodiversity within a working landscape. The target is a system based on grazing and recreational land use that is both ecologically and economically viable, as well as socially acceptable.
Restoration Ecology in Working Landscapes: Patch-Burn Grazing

Birds and Vegetation at Neal Smith NWR: This project has two major goals: 1) to examine temporal shifts in avian diversity and community structure through stages of restoration of a tall grass prairie and 2) to compare avian diversity and community responses to habitat structure across restored prairie and woodland savannah.

Iowa Stream Fish: The first major benefit of this project will be the establishment of a prioritized and realistic plan for assessing Iowa's stream fish SGCN. A second major benefit of this project will be a significant increase in our understanding of the occurrence and distribution of high-priority SGCN in Iowa streams. An additional benefit of this project will be better understanding of the status of all fish SGCN, not just the high-priority subset of SGCN.

Secretive Marsh Birds: This project will 1) develop methodology for surveying secretive marsh birds in Iowa, 2) design and implement a survey for estimating the abundance of secretive marsh birds (bitterns and rails) in Iowa and suggest how this could be used as a long-term monitoring tool, and 3) assess general habitat associations of secretive marsh birds in Iowa relative to wetland characteristics.
Secretive Marsh-Birds in Iowa


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