Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative

Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative

MBHI Update, November 2010 -  Florida Acres Enrolled in Cooperative Federal Effort to Protect Birds in Spill Zone

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will work with farmers, ranchers, aquaculturists, non-industrial foresters, and other landowners to develop and enhance habitat for birds making their annual migration south towards the Gulf of Mexico. Under the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI), NRCS will partner with producers to manage portions of their land to provide additional food and habitat for migrating birds.

More than 50 million migratory birds traveling south in coming months will instinctively head toward the marshes and coastlands of the northern Gulf of Mexico; including Florida.  With some marshes and shorelines in Florida already degraded and the potential for larger-scale oil impacts in the coming months, it is essential that we provide inland and coastal food, water, and cover for migratory birds before they reach the oil-impacted areas.

The initiative encompasses portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. NRCS, in cooperation with its conservation partners, has identified priority areas that offer the greatest habitat potential for migrating bird populations. NRCS anticipates improving habitat on up to 100,000 to 150,000 acres throughout the eight states, based on expected producer participation. Based on prior experience, NRCS hopes to see millions of birds coming to rest and feed in the priority areas.

Priority areas in Florida are in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty, Gadsden, Leon, Madison, and Lafayette counties.

The sign-up will run from June 28 to August 1, 2010. Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center for additional information.

National MBHI website

Florida Program Contact

Contact your local USDA-NRCS Service Center or

Kenneth Morgan, Program Specialist, 352-338-9545