Sentinel Landscapes

VP Gilbert PrairieThrough the Sentinel Landscapes partnership, NRCS works with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to preserve agriculture and restore and protect wildlife habitat on land near military facilities.

Growing pressure from land development, water-use constraints and endangered species on and near facilities are impeding the military’s ability to carry out testing and training. These areas are often productive and viable working lands that provide food for the nation and important ecosystem habitat.

The collaboration among USDA, U.S. Department of Interior and Department of Defense began in 2013 and is helping farmers and ranchers make improvements to the land that help keep them in business, enhance wildlife habitat and support national defense.

Sentinel Landscapes Pilot in Washington

South Puget Sound in Washington state is the pilot Sentinel Landscape. Home to Joint Base Lewis-McCord, South Puget Sound houses the majority of the last remaining 3 percent of native prairie habitat in the state along with at-risk wildlife and agricultural operations vital to the rural economy.

As part of this pilot, NRCS works with private landowners and local partners to promote sound stewardship through:

  •  Conservation Easements: NRCS is contributing $2.63 million to acquire 600 acres of Grasslands Reserve Program easements and $400,000 with the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program;
  •  Habitat Restoration: The Taylor’s checkspot butterfly, streaked horned lark and Mazama pocket gopher, along with endangered plants will directly benefit from $50,000 from the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to restore species habitat conditions; and
  • Regulatory Predictability: Building on the successes of NRCS’ Working Lands for Wildlife, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide producers regulatory certainty that the conservation investments they make today help sustain their operations over the long term.

Read the USDA, Interior and Defense departments partner to benefit agricultural lands, wildlife habitat and military readiness press release.

To learn how you can get involved in conservation, contact your local service center.