The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently awarded $61 million for the purchase of thousands of acres in eight states in support of habitat conservation. Many of the buys are of developable land near urban areas.
California: One of three grants for San Diego County awarded $2 million to acquire 32 acres for the protection of a coastal sage scrub species and the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher. Another $10 million is for the purchase of 824 acres in the Proctor Valley to protect large-mammal corridors and assist the gnatcatcher, a species of shrimp and an endangered butterfly. Finally, a $1.7 million award is for the purchase of 82 acres, including vernal-pool habitat in Dennery Canyon, to protect several bird and plant species. In Riverside County, $9 million is for the purchase of 3,310 acres of coastal sage scrub land to protect the kangaroo rat and other species.
Maryland: A $1 million grant will be used to purchase 266 acres of essential habitat for an endangered squirrel species in rapidly developing Queen Anne's County.
Texas: More than $11 million is for the purchase of two habitat areas totaling 6,484 acres near Austin in Travis County.