WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that Rhode Island will receive a $497,265 State Wildlife Grant (SWG) to protect and preserve the state's wildlife and their habitats. "Rhode Island's natural resources and wildlife are critical assets that make our state a great place to live. This federal funding will help support environmental programs that preserve open spaces and protect wildlife. In taking the long view, these funds help the state prioritize conservation and research efforts in the years ahead," said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that allocates federal funding for U.S. Department of Interior programs. "From our coastlines to our forests, protecting and preserving our diverse natural landscape is a smart investment in the health of our environment and our economy." The State Wildlife Grant program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and provides federal funds to states for the development, revision, and implementation of wildlife conservation strategies to prevent species and habitats from becoming endangered. To become eligible for the funds, Rhode Island, under the leadership of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), developed a Wildlife Action Plan<http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/fishwild/swap15.htm> (WAP). The Wildlife Action Plan identifies the state's Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and key habitats, and assesses the condition of and threats to both, along with conservation measures designed to ensure their long-term survival. The state's WAP notes: "Even though it is the smallest and the second-most densely populated state in the U.S., Rhode Island's wildlife is remarkably diverse. It includes thousands of resident and migratory species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, beetles, butterflies and moths, and other insects, freshwater mollusks, annelids, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates. From the western highlands to the coastlines and the adjoining ocean waters, the state supports a broad spectrum of biodiversity, ranging from the rarest and most endangered species to the most common and abundant." "We appreciate the leadership of Senator Reed and our Congressional delegation in bringing this important funding to Rhode Island," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Conserving our forests and other natural resources helps ensure healthier and more abundant wildlife populations, adds to the beauty of our landscape, and promotes a healthier environment which benefits us all." SWG funds are used to carry out this plan by addressing conservation needs, such as research, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring in Rhode Island. These funds may also be used to update, revise or modify Rhode Island's Wildlife Action Plan. DEM has partnered with the Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the University of Rhode Island (URI) to update its Wildlife Action Plan.