This project extends 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 assistance from American Forests, will plant 60 native species, to total over 64,000 trees, including 2 listed endangered species and 6 or more candidate or peripheral species. Revegetation of the riparian (gallery) forest and matorral 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 recoverery 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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