KANSAS CITY, KS (KSNT) – More than $4 million will be invested in Kansas wildlife to help support endangered species after approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This grant cash comes from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) which distributes millions annually, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. This is done to help implement state programs to conserve and recover federally listed and at-risk species on non-federal lands.

“This grant funding makes it possible for us to conserve nearly 1,600 acres of critical wetland habitat that will not only benefit species most at risk, but many other species that depend on wetlands for food, shelter and respite during migration,” said KDWP Secretary Brad Loveless. “We know we can’t conserve imperiled species without first conserving their habitat, so this is a great ‘next step’ towards paving the way for these projects, as well as future efforts to conserve critical habitat across our great state.”

The total amount of funding adds up to $4,306,820 from the CESCF, according to the KDWP. Of this amount, $3,994,790 will be spent on wetland habitat conservation to support species like Whooping Cranes and Eastern Black Rails. The remaining funds will be used to support Kansas’ Aquatic Safe Harbor Agreement.

“Thanks to decades-long partnerships like the one we have with Ducks Unlimited, we’ve been able to restore, renovate, and protect critical habitat for a variety of native species,” said KDWP Assistant Secretary Stuart Schrag. “Now, being the recipient of this federal Recovery Land grant for the first time ever only elevates what KDWP and Ducks Unlimited can do together to positively impact critical landscapes and the wildlife that depend on them.”

Ducks Unlimited is a non-profit organization which is dedicated to conserving wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl. It played an active role in the grant application process for the KDWP.

“The partnership between KDWP, Ducks Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to secure these funds is a prime example of how collaboration can greatly benefit imperiled species,” said Matt Hough, Manager of Conservation Programs in Kansas for Ducks Unlimited. “Working together toward the common goal of conserving wildlife are what these relationships are all about, because when we protect wetlands and associated habitats, both wildlife and people benefit.”

Fifteen other states across the U.S. and Guam received funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Oct. 19. In total, $66.7 million in matching grants were distributed to these areas to support endangered species.