ONC awarded USFWS Tribal Wildlife Grant

More than $6.6 million awarded to 37 projects in 17 states to bolster fish and wildlife conservation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $6.6 million in Tribal Wildlife Grants to federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native Tribes in 17 states to bolster fish and wildlife conservation and key partnerships, including the Orutsararmiut Native Council.

The awards will support 37 projects that benefit a wide range of wildlife and habitats, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished.

The Orutsararmiut Native Council was awarded $99,221 for the Bethel In-season Subsistence Harvest Surveys and Chinook Age-Sex-Length Sampling Program.

The overarching goal of this project is to provide state and federal managers and stakeholders with relevant subsistence harvest effort, catch, and composition information collected from a representative subset of families who harvest salmon for subsistence purposes along the Kuskokwim River in the Bethel area of Alaska.

The specified objectives of the project are as follows: 1) determine Bethel area subsistence users’ relative change in salmon harvest goals for Chinook, chum, and sockeye salmon compared to the prior year, and monitor weekly progress towards achieving annual salmon harvest goals; 2) document subsistence fishing activity in the Bethel area, including when families begin subsistence fishing, weekly participation, catch per unit effort by gear type, and catch composition to provide reliable quantitative estimates of salmon harvests, and utilize this data collected to produce in-season harvest estimates in collaboration with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission; and 3) estimate the annual age-sex-length (ASL) composition of Chinook salmon harvested in the Bethel area subsistence fishery. 4) Improve information sharing between stakeholders and agencies concerning salmon conservation in the Kuskokwim River drainage.

“The Tribal Wildlife Grants Program provides an unparalleled opportunity for federal and state government agencies to partner with Tribes in the conservation of our shared and highly valued natural heritage, as well as cultural priorities,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams. “These grants are critical in helping achieve these goals and strengthening partnerships between the Service and Tribes.”

The grants have enabled Tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve, and enhance relationships with conservation state partners, address cultural and environmental priorities, and help train the next generation of conservationists by engaging Tribal students interested in fisheries, wildlife, and related fields of study. Some grants have been awarded to support recovery efforts for federally listed threatened and endangered species.

These grants are provided exclusively to federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native Tribal governments, and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.

For additional information about the Service’s Native American Programs, visit: https://www.fws.gov/nativeamerican/.