The Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI) increasingly recognized the need to invest energy in the management of their forest and wildlife lands. Common lands used for hunting and recreation were undergoing succession and becoming unable to sustain the level of wildlife the Nation enjoyed in the past. This natural succession saw the increase in invasive species and a decrease in native plants that offered the most diverse vegetation for cover and food. The Seneca Nation decided to sign up for NRCS’s cost-share assistance through a Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) application that resulted in a contract that would improve upland and wildlife habitat management. Working together with NRCS, the Nation developed a Wildlife Habitat Management Plan on 160 acres in the Allegany Reservation.
The resulting contract contains incentive payments for tree and shrub removal, selective tree felling, crop tree release, and the establishment of native shrubs and trees. In addition, the conservation program is implementing a schedule of mowing and cutting that is design to maintain the highest level of songbirds, turkey, grouse, deer, black bear and other wildlife species drawn to this area. The installation of these conservation practices has benefited the Nation’s time and energy in improving native shrub and tree populations and enhancing grassland habitat. The managed acres have also provided habitat benefits with sightings of the eastern towhee songbird, a black bear, many ruffed grouse, and several deer.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to help participants manage wildlife habitat on private agricultural lands, non-industrial private forestland and Tribal land.
With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers to help plan and implement conservation practices to protect the environment while helping producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.
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