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Funding will protect shorelines and wildlife habits, enhance park access to bolster tourism

(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen announced today that her request for $1 million to boost conservation efforts and wildlife habitat protection at the Umbagog Lake Refuge has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Shaheen has supported conservation efforts at the refuge since she was Governor and requested this new funding with Senator Judd Gregg to allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire and conserve new lands within the refuge. The funding for the project is included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill which now goes to the Senate floor for final passage.

"Umbagog Lake Refuge is one of New Hampshire's most beautiful natural habitats, and we must do everything we can to ensure it remains that way for years to come," said Shaheen. "This funding will help protect the refuge's unique wildlife habitat while keeping the park accessible to New Hampshire residents and tourists, which is critical to our state's economy."

 "We are tremendously grateful to Senator Shaheen for helping make it possible for the Forest Society and the Umbagog Refuge to move forward with the long-planned acquisition of a conservation easement on Big Island," said Jane A. Difley, President Forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. "Located at the southern end of the lake, the 157-acre island contains nesting sites for both Loons and Ospreys, is a frequent roosting location for Bald Eagles, and features other unusual ecological communities. The Island's paddle-in campsites are among the most popular on the lake. The $1 million appropriation will ensure enhanced resource protection and recreational management of this jewel of the Umbagog Refuge, and build on the significant federal investments made in the Refuge in recent years."

As Governor, Shaheen signed legislation expanding the Umbagog Lake Refuge by over 1,300 acres and acquiring conservation easements over an additional 2,259 acres.

Umbagog Lake Refuge serves as a unique habitat for many migratory species that depend on wetlands, including the bald eagle. This funding will guarantee shoreline protection, enhance public access for recreation, and preserve upland and wetland habitats that are recognized as some of the most important in the eastern United States. Specifically, the project will boost conservation efforts in the Blake Island, Big Island, the Androscoggin Headwaters and the Mollidgewock Phase II areas.

The funding was approved by the Appropriations Committee as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Interior Appropriations legislation, which includes $7,825,000 for projects in New Hampshire.