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FISH AND GAME: STATE PROTECTS MORE THAN 72,000 ACRES OF WILDLIFE HABITAT UNDER PROPOSITION 117 IN FIRST 24-MONTH FUNDING CYCLE

FISH AND GAME: STATE PROTECTS MORE THAN 72,000 ACRES OF WILDLIFE HABITAT
 UNDER PROPOSITION 117 IN FIRST 24-MONTH FUNDING CYCLE
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- As a result of voter approval of Proposition 117 in 1990, more than $47.2 million has been spent to acquire 72,498 acres of property to protect wildlife habitat, wildlife corridors and restore aquatic habitat throughout California, the state Department of Fish and Game said today.
 Of this amount, $18.8 million was spent in northern California to acquire 53,445 acres while $28.4 million was invested in southern California to acquire 19,053 acres.
 These figures emerge from a new report by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) summarizing acquisitions under Proposition 117 during the first 24-month funding cycle (fiscal years 1990-91 and 1991-92).
 Voters in June 1990 passed Proposition 117, often called the Mountain Lion Initiative, enacting the Wildlife Protection Act of 1990.
 The act created a Habitat Conservation Fund, required an annual transfer of $30 million state money into the fund until the year 2020 and specified how money was to be spent to acquire habitat needed to protect wildlife and plant populations, especially deer, mountain lions and rare, endangered, threatened or fully protected species.
 Property acquired includes historic wetland and riparian ecosystems to provide habitat for the endangered bald eagle, peregrine falcon and the California hibiscus, a plant listed as threatened by the Native Plant Society.
 Acquisition will also protect critical habitat for the tule elk, wild pigs, black bears, wild turkeys and California dove and quail.
 The act specified that over a 24-month period, one-third of the total expenditures are to be made for acquisitions of habitat necessary to protect deer and mountain lions. The remaining two-thirds was earmarked for acquisition of habitat to protect rare, endangered, threatened or fully protected species.
 Major habitat acquisitions accomplished during the first 24-month funding cycle include 4,939 acres of deer and mountain lion habitat at a cost of $11.2 million, 45,818 acres of wetland habitat at a cost of $7.1 million, 6,749 acres of habitat for rare, endangered and protected species at a cost of $17.5 million, and 5,313 acres of significant natural areas at a cost of $2.9 million.
 Noteworthy also were the acquisitions of 791 acres of riparian habitat at a cost of $3.4 million, 8,939 acres of wildlife corridors and urban trails, costing $18.8 million, and 7,769 acres of property that links habitat, at a cost of $13 million.
 Many Proposition 117 expenditures qualify for more than one of the program elements or habitats. For example, $1 million could be spent to acquire 50 acres to protect mountain lion and deer. That same 50 acres may also provide quality habitat for rare, threatened or fully protected species.
 Consequently, adding all major acquisition categories will yield a higher aggregate figure than the $47.2 million in expenditures identified by the WCB.
 Under terms of the act, five agencies play roles in the acquisition process. They are: the Wildlife Conservation Board, which since 1947 has invested bond issue funds to acquire and develop areas in California for wildlife conservation and public recreation purposes, the Department of Parks and Recreation, California Coastal Conservancy, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the California Tahoe Conservancy. Agencies which have been appropriated Proposition 117 funds are required to report to the WCB annually.
 Questions regarding this report may be addressed to WCB staff at 916-445-1093.
 -0- 9/18/92
 /CONTACT: Mary L. Gale, assistant director for public affairs, or Pete Weisser, information officer, both of the California Department of Fish and Game, 916-653-6420/ CO: California Department of Fish and Game ST: California IN: SU:


TM- -- SF003 -- 1109 09/18/92 12:26 EDT
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Date:Sep 18, 1992
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