Maine’s Indian tribes will get more than $750,000 in wildlife conservation funds from two new federal programs.

Nearly $14 million was awarded in 79 grants from the new Tribal Landowner Incentive and Tribal Wildlife Grant Programs.

The programs aim to help restore endangered and at-risk species on tribal land and to help tribes build their capacity to manage their wildlife resources. The grants are the first the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded exclusively to tribal governments, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said at a press conference Tuesday.

“Native Americans have a special relationship with the land and its wildlife,” she said. “They often depend on wildlife for economic, cultural and spiritual fulfillment, and thus Indian people are in a unique position to conserve tribal land and recover wildlife.”

More than 60 tribes across the country received the grants, including four in Maine.

Nearly $200,000 will go to the Penobscot Nation at Indian Island for the Penobscot River Restoration Project, which aims to improve the river’s ecosystem by removing two dams and bypassing a third.

The Penobscots also received $250,000 to manage moose and deer on 80,000 acres of tribal lands.

“The tribe regulates the taking of all wildlife within Penobscot Indian territory,” said John Banks, natural resources director for the Penobscot Nation. “Our decisions about seasons and bag limits and forestry operations will be better informed by scientific information.”

The Passamaquoddy Tribe at the Indian Township Reservation in Princeton received just over $180,000 to survey populations of Canada lynx and search for other forest carnivores, such as gray wolves and mountain lions.

The Aroostook Band of MicMacs in Presque Isle, will get more than $80,000 for a brown ash management project, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in Littleton received more than $68,000 for a wildlife habitat enhancement program.



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