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A dozen Wild Resources Conservation Fund grants for 2020 were announced by Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

The more than $350,000 will fund research and conservation of non-game animals, like otters and bobcats, and native plant species, like Canby’s mountain lover. 

The Wild Resource Conservation program is funded through the sale of Pennsylvania river otter license plates, donations of state tax refunds, or direct donations. The program receives no funding from the state budget.   

“These grants help support field research and on-the-ground conservation projects that protect some of our most vulnerable species,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn. “Essential to the biodiversity of our state’s woodlands and waters, these recipients help preserve and protect rare plant species, and bridge the gap between scientific discovery and good conservation policy.”

LISTEN to Ellen Shultzabarger talk about the program


Biodiversity refers to the variety of species in an ecosystem. 

Ellen Shultzabarger, Director of the Bureau of Forestry in Pennsylvania, and the state’s forester said threats to biodiversity include development and climate change. Non-native species can move into a wetland or forest and impact the populations of native species, crowding them out or even replacing them. 

“When you remove certain species from these ecosystems, it does affect, depending on if it’s the plant or the invertebrate or if it’s the carnivore,” she said. “They all have a role.” 

One project will look at how prescribed fire, used to manage brush and potential wildfire fuel in forests, can affect rare amphibians. Another project will map the movement of a small, endangered fish called the Chesapeake Logperch

“Just having an understanding of the species will help us move towards a recovery of this rare fish,” Shultzabarger said. 

2020 Wild Resource Conservation Program grants:

  • Implementation of Recovery Plan for Endangered Plant, Canby’s Mountain Lover
  • Assessment of Pollination Services to Endangered Plant, White Monkshood
  • Digitizing a Legacy Slide Collection of Dragonflies and Damselflies of Pennsylvania
  • Development of a Comprehensive Checklist for Ferns and Mosses in Pennsylvania
  • Surveys for Pennsylvania’s Cave-Dwelling Crustaceans.
  • Assessment of Yellow Oak-Redbud Woodlands in the Allegheny Plateau.
  • Save the American Kestrel.
  • Assessing Fire Management Impacts of Rare Reptile Species in Pennsylvania Barren Communities.
  • How “wild” is Pennsylvania wild ginseng.
  • Assessment of Rare Fish, Chesapeake Logperch, Movements.
  • Effects of Rodenticides on Carnivores in Pennsylvania.
  • Distribution and conservation assessment of the Devil Crayfish in Pennsylvania.

The Race to Save a Rare Mountain Lover