This proposal would extend an on going Cooperative Farming Program effort with local farmers on the refuge. The refuge was created to form a wildlife corridor linking the remaining habitat on both sides of the Rio Grande. Less than 5% of the original habitat remains. The National Wildlife Refuge with support from American Forests will plant a total of 70,000 trees in some 60 different native species, including 2 listed endangered species and 6 or more candidate or peripheral species. Revegetation of the riparian forest and brushland is essential for recovery of numerous endangered species. All site preparation (about 46% of the total planting cost) and most tree planting and seedling purchase is accomplished by the Cooperative Farmers Valley Proud Environmental Council (NGO) and the Audubon Sabal Palms Sanctuary (NGO) assists in volunteer recruitment. Major benefits are an increased habitat for endangered species, linking corridor segments, contribute to the recovery of 2 endangered plants and prevent decline of other rare species, increase potential for bird-watching and other ecotourism and to stimulate similar efforts on adjacent lands in Mexico.
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