County receives $4 million for endangered species protection

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In August, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the awarding of more than $37 million in grants for endangered or threatened species in 20 states throughout the U.S.

Riverside County received $4 million in two grants, and other California entities received another $8 million for various land acquisition and management projects.

The county’s two grants support two major habitat conservation plans — the Western Riverside County Multiple Species and the Coachella Valley Multiple Species — and each was awarded $2 million.

Funds for the Western Riverside plan will support acquiring up to 1,025 acres of land in the county. This acquisition of these lands will benefit numerous sensitive species, including federally listed species such as the California gnatcatcher, Arroyo southwestern toad and Quino checkerspot butterfly.

The Coachella Valley plan will use the money for acquiring up to 4,526 acres. These funds will secure key regional wildlife linkages and sand transport areas, and preserve core habitat areas. Acquiring these lands will benefit many sensitive, federally listed species, such as the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, desert tortoise and peninsular bighorn sheep.

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