NRCS Migratory and Shore Bird Habitat Initiative Available to Private Landowners
Temple, Jan. 13, 2014— Migratory and shore birds have long been a part of Texas wildlife. Today, production agriculture and urban expansion near Texas’ coast have encroached upon the remaining vital habitat. To help sustain, enhance and restore habitat for this water fowl, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Salvador Salinas today announced the availability of funding through Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) to help private landowners in 23 selected coastal Texas counties.
“Migratory and shore birds are an essential part of the Texas ecosystem,” Salinas said. “Restoring and expanding the environment for these species is only made possible through voluntary partnerships with conservation-minded landowners who share our goal of healthy water fowl ecosystems.”
Migratory and shore birds species can number in the hundreds and all play a vital role in the life cycle associated with a coastal and wetland environment. The counties identified for this initiative include Aransas, Austin, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton, and Willacy. Conservation practices such as dikes and water control structures, among others, will provide standing water and suitable habitat will be eligible for payment when installed according to NRCS standards and specifications.
“We’ve taken great steps toward conserving wetland habitats along the Texas coast” said Salinas. “Through this initiative, and the great works of our landowners, we will be able to enhance and protect more of this essential habitat.”
Land owners in the designated area that are interested in participating in this initiative need to contact the District Conservationist in the county where their land is located. The first requests for applications opens today and runs through February 14th. NRCS will then begin ranking of applications and begin obligating funding. It is important to note that the sign-up period for this initiative is open continuously. If necessary, a second ranking period will be after
Additional information on the Migratory and Shore Bird Habitat Initiative, NRCS and other programs is available on our Website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov or at your local USDA NRCS office.