FY 2018 Recovery Challenge F18AS00269

The Recovery Challenge opportunity is to enhance and increase partnerships with agencies and organizations implementing highest priority recovery actions identified in recovery plans, and in particular for genetically-sound breeding, rearing, and reintroduction programs. Section 2(a)(5) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1535, as amended, authorizes the use of Federal financial assistance to encourage the States and other interested parties to develop and maintain conservation programs to safeguard the Nation's heritage in fish, wildlife and plants for the benefit of all citizens. In addition, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018
[(H.R. 1625) (Division G - Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018)] authorized specific funding for the Recovery Challenge funding opportunity.
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White-Nose Syndrome Research Grants Fiscal Year 2018 Notice of Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is pleased to announce the availability of research funding in 2018 to investigate issues related directly to the management of white-nose syndrome (WNS). The WNS Program provides financial and technical assistance to non-governmental, university, and private researchers, as well as state and local governments, Native American tribes, and federal agencies, for the management of WNS and conservation of bats. Funded projects will investigate priority questions about WNS to improve our ability to manage the disease and implement management actions that will help to conserve affected bat species.
As of April 5, 2018, WNS has been confirmed in bats in 32 states and five Canadian provinces and the causative fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has been detected in two additional states without confirmation of the disease. At least 15 North American and 21 Eurasian species of bats have been confirmed with WNS or detected carrying Pd. Surveys in affected areas continue to reveal population declines associated with the disease at most contaminated sites in North America. For information on WNS and previously funded projects, please see: whitenosesyndrome.org
Funding through WNS Research Grants provides critical information and resources for maximizing the benefits of conservation efforts for bats. These actions are focused on minimizing the impacts of WNS and compounding stressors on already listed species, prioritizing actions to conserve species that may be assessed for listing due to the impacts of WNS, and understanding how different species are likely to respond when exposed to the pathogen. Although WNS has decimated several species of bats in eastern North America, efforts taken with support of funding from the Service’s WNS program has allowed the management community to focus efforts where there is the greatest need and benefit. In this way, these grants will support the priorities of the Department of the Interior to create a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt, restore trust with local communities, and strike a regulatory balance.
The programs create a conservation stewardship legacy by helping to stem the decline of bat species in the face of WNS through funding research and monitoring efforts that improve understanding and treatment of the disease. By supporting scientific research to better understand the disease and the species affected by it, WNS Grants to States and Research grants utilize science to identify best practices to manage wildlife resources and to foster relationships with other agencies and conservation organizations. These programs complement a third, the Bats for the Future Fund, initiated in 2017 and implemented in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and others, which expands public and private partnerships to develop and implement management solutions such as treatments for WNS while fostering innovation and action.
The programs both help restore trust with local communities. The WNS Grants to States are awarded only to State Wildlife or Natural Resource Agencies, directly helping with expanding the lines of communication with State Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources offices. In some cases, WNS Grants to States provide the sole monetary means for states to engage in management efforts to prepare for and respond to WNS. In addition, information needs identified by state agencies determine priorities for WNS Research funding. Those agencies are partners in
the majority of WNS Research proposals funded to date and are expected to be in the future as well. Agencies themselves are eligible grantees under the WNS Research Grant Program, and research funds were awarded to two state wildlife agencies last year.
WNS has been confirmed in three federally listed bat species (Indiana bat, gray bat, and northern long-eared bat) and currently poses a potential risk to two additional listed bats (the Virginia big-eared bat and the Ozark big-eared bat). The northern long-eared bat was listed as Threatened primarily due to the impacts of WNS, and concern over population declines resulting from WNS led the Service to schedule status assessments for two additional bat species: little brown bat and tricolored bat. The work funded through the WNS grant programs is expected to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden imposed on U.S. industry and the public by potentially precluding the need to list additional species. In addition, the projects funded will provide information that will ensure that Endangered Species Act decisions are based on strong science and thorough analysis.
The Service has anticipates committing $1.5 million in internally directed funds for this open funding (pending Budget approval), which accompanies three additional anticipated funding opportunities from the Service’s WNS Program in 2018: 1) Bats for the Future Fund (with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other partners); 2) WNS Grants to States 2018 program, and 3) WNS Small Grants for Communications and Research on WNS (with Wildlife Management Institute; application period closed 6 December 2017). The WNS Research Grants 2018 opportunity will remain open until 30 September 2018, or earlier if funds are depleted. Contact the Service WNS coordinator in your region for more information (see below).
The Service is authorized to provide this funding as described in the Service’s policy manual chapter on the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544); and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667e).
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BLM FY2019 Bureau-wide Management Studies Support Program for National Conservation Lands L18AS00007

Background: The BLM is unique in its mission of managing the public lands for multiple use and sustained yield of resources, including conservation. More than 30 million acres of BLM land is recognized for outstanding conservation values. Designated for special management by Acts of Congress or Presidential Proclamations.
The BLM manages these special areas to maintain and enhance their conservation values with the goal to conserve, protect, and restore these important landscapes and their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. These areas range from broad Alaskan tundra to red rock deserts and from deep river canyons to rugged ocean coastlines and include some of America’s finest natural and cultural treasures.
The National Conservation Lands include the following unit designations:
 National Monuments and National Conservation Areas;
 Wilderness/Wilderness Study Areas;
 National Wild and Scenic Rivers;
 National Scenic and Historic Trails; and
 California Desert National Conservation Lands.
Natural, Scientific, and Cultural Benefits - The National Conservation Lands protect a myriad of rare species, diverse habitats and ecosystems, historic properties, and cultural resources. These designated lands help ensure that the Nation’s extraordinary biodiversity and cultural heritage will be sustained for present and future generations to enjoy.
Recreation Benefits - The National Conservation Lands conserve over 30 million acres of rugged landscapes for the public to explore and enjoy, and hosts more than one-fourth of all recreation on BLM lands. These diverse lands provide opportunities for recreationists of all kinds, from white-water rafters and rock climbers to hunters and fishermen, hikers and skiers to boaters and off-highway vehicle riders. The BLM manages units that include over 2,700 recreation sites and 22 visitor centers, and serves approximately 14 million visitors annually.
Objectives: The National Conservation Lands financially supports studies aimed at increasing our understanding of the resources present on BLM lands and the effectiveness of BLM’s resource management decisions. The program seeks to develop and maintain strong partnerships with State, local, and private stakeholders in shared conservation stewardship by engaging partners in conducting management-focused research on the National Conservation Lands. Results from these studies on National Conservation Lands will inform management strategies utilized throughout BLM as well as other land management entities.
The Management Studies Support Program for National Conservation Lands aligns with the Secretary’s priorities. In the DOI Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022, it states within Missions Area 1, Goal #1, and Strategy #2: Bureaus administer their resource management and conservation programs on more than 400 million acres of upland, wetland, and aquatic lands within their jurisdiction. Many of these lands have special status as national parks, seashores, monuments, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, national conservation lands or wild and scenic rivers. Land managers utilize earth and natural science, social science, partnerships with other DOI bureau, federal, state, local and tribal entities, and other tools and resources (including its front-line managers) in managing these lands and waters.
The Management Studies Support Program for National Conservation Lands will utilize partnerships with State, local, and tribal entities to gather the best available data for BLM’s land management decisions.
The Management Studies Support Program for National Conservation lands aligns with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 which states that BLM has the ability to cooperate with partners on investigations, studies, and experiments involving the management and protection of public lands.
Sec. 307. [43 U.S.C. 1737] (a) The Secretary may conduct investigations, studies, and experiments, on his own initiative or in cooperation with others, involving the management, protection, development, acquisition, and conveying of the public lands.
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