NRCS Targets Black-Footed Ferret Recovery on Fort Belknap Reservation
BOZEMAN, Mont., May 15, 2014–Landowners on the Fort Belknap Reservation have until June 13, 2014, to apply for financial assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to aid in the recovery of the black-footed ferret, a federally listed endangered species.
NRCS is targeting its effort on the Fort Belknap Reservation, which is within the historic range of the black-footed ferret and has colonies of prairie dogs to provide the minimum habitat to support ferret populations. This effort will help with recovery goals for down listing or delisting the black-footed ferret from endangered status.
Landowners who reintroduce black-footed ferrets on their property will receive Safe Harbor protection, which assures their agreed-upon land use activities can continue, additional regulatory restrictions will not be imposed, and no future commitment will be required to continue with ferret conservation.
Through this effort, landowners can receive up to $17.85 per acre for three years. A minimum of 1,500 acres must be included in the conservation zone and can be provided by more than one landowner. Acreage is capped at 2,000 acres per contract. The landowner will be required to conduct monitoring, which includes monitoring prairie dog populations quarterly, monitoring colony boundaries annually, and taking photos at specified points annually.
For more information, contact Scott Morton, NRCS district conservationist at Fort Belknap, at 406-353-8488. For additional information on the black-footed ferret recovery effort, visit www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/blackfootedferret/.