SALEM - Applications will be accepted until Aug. 31 for Landowner Incentive Program grants to enhance, protect or restore habitats that benefit "species-at-risk" on privately owned lands, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.

Successful grant applications will be funded through congressional allocations for the nationwide program. Congress is expected to act on the budget allocation later this year. Oregon received $1.12 million for the competitive grant program in 2003. Applicants will learn in late 2004 if their projects will receive funds.

Private landowners or groups, such as land conservancies or trusts working with private landowners are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that conserve, enhance or restore habitats for rare species. Example projects include restoring native vegetation, prescribed burns, grazing management, brush and invasive weed management, removing fish passage barriers, stream restoration and purchasing conservation easements.

In Oregon, "species-at-risk" include fish or wildlife species that are federally or state listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, are a candidate for listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA, or are listed on the State Sensitive Species List. Species listed as globally critically imperiled, imperiled, rare or locally threatened on the Oregon Natural Heritage Program's list of Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plants and Animals of Oregon also are eligible. Species-at-risk also include plants listed on the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Wildflowers, and Endangered, Threatened, and Candidate plant lists.

For more information or to obtain an application form and instructions, you may visit the Landowner Incentive Program Web page at http://www.dfw. state.or.us /LIP/overview.html.

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