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            The FishAmerica Foundation and the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have created a new 5-year, $500,000 partnership that will allow the foundation to greatly expand its impact on freshwater fisheries conservation and research.


As part of the Fish and Wildlife Service's "Partners for Fish and Wildlife" program in the Southeast, the agency will provide matching funding for grassroots conservation projects focusing on habitat improvements that make fishing better, especially in coastal areas.


Complementing a federal partnership with the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the FishAmerica Foundation now has strong links with both federal agencies with lead responsibilities for freshwater and saltwater fisheries management.


"The FishAmerica Foundation's grants give added horsepower to local groups that have a strong, vested interest in conservation in their own communities, and that concept appeals to government agencies looking to stimulate and support grassroots action," said Johanna Laderman, Managing Director of the FishAmerica Foundation.  "Because we're backed by the sportfishing industry, we're able to create some of the best partnerships among businesses, government, and local partners and thousands of citizen volunteers."


For the last 3 years, FishAmerica also has worked in partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service to fund projects in the Northeast, ultimately providing nearly $300,000 for grassroots conservation in nine states.  This similar partnership fueled projects ranging from dam removals that improved fish spawning habitat to saltmarsh restoration to fish ladder installations that allow fish to migrate through their home rivers.  The Northeast partnership also will be renewed next year for another 4 years and up to $400,000-worth of project funding.


            Celebrating more than 20 years of success, the FishAmerica Foundation has provided more than $6 million in matching grants for more than 750 grassroots conservation and research projects in all 50 states.  Prized sportfish like shad, striped bass, walleye, flounder, and salmon are making a comeback because of FishAmerica's investments in restoring our rivers and coasts, reviving habitat along fish migration routes, and replenishing fish in our lakes and rivers.

Uploaded: 3/11/2004