U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards RCA Nearly $9 Million
Western Riverside County’s 146 MSHCP-protected native and animal species have a reason to celebrate thanks to a $8.9 million federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The RCA was awarded the competitive grant funds to help boost land acquisition efforts and assemble a 500,000-acre reserve – a requirement under the MSHCP. The award was the largest made in California this year, representing a significant portion of the $40 million in grants awarded nationwide.
“This grant award demonstrates the tremendous faith our federal partners have in the RCA and our habitat conservation efforts throughout western Riverside County,” said RCA Chair and Lake Elsinore City Mayor Natasha Johnson. “RCA is determined to fulfill the objectives of the MSHCP, which envisions a region with integration of economic growth, infrastructure, and conservation of the biodiversity and open space that make western Riverside County an extraordinary place. Investment from our federal partners is crucial to our success and I am thankful for this step forward,” she said.
Authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act and funded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the grant will help the RCA acquire ecologically significant areas, including key regional wildlife movement linkages, high-priority conservation areas, and parcels that support key populations of MSHCP-protected species such as the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly, least Bell’s vireo, and the coastal California gnatcatcher.
Through this grant, conserved lands will benefit the 146 native animal and plant species covered by the MSHCP as well as offset the impacts of climate change, protect biodiversity, enhance public health, and increase equitable access to open space across western Riverside County.
For a full list of awards, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.