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Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative

MBHI - providing habitat in a time of need.

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Migratory Birds Initiative Map - Small
Migratory Birds Initiative - Small

The former Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) took flight amid the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Through this partnership effort, NRCS invested nearly $40 million to create about 470,000 acres of alternative habitat for birds migrating South for winter. Participating states included: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.

MBHI projects provided food and critical habitat for bird populations; much-needed water during drought; support for local economies by attracting hunters and bird watchers; and new opportunities to improve wildlife management.

NRCS delivered MBHI through the Wetlands Reserve ProgramEnvironmental Quality Incentives Program, and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program.

MBHI, while now retired, was one of the agency’s Landscape Initiatives, which are temporary, targeted conservation efforts to address a particular conservation need, in this case habitat for wetland-dependent birds heading south.

NRCS still uses the MBHI concept as the foundation for other similar NRCS efforts across the country, such as the Waterbird Habitat Enhancement Initiative in California. NRCS state offices in Louisiana and Texas also have continued to set aside funds for migratory bird habitat, continuing the investment made through MBHI.

Mississippi State University’s study of MBHI

In February 2015, NRCS announced the findings of a new study by Mississippi State University, which showed how this initiative effectively provided shelter and food for migratory birds. For example, rice fields flooded early through MBHI were home to an average 15 migratory birds per acre, compared to two birds per acre on rice fields not flooded. See more findings.


Discover MBHI

  • Contacts - Get in touch with MBHI experts.
  • Publications - Interesting words about the birds, plus information on how NRCS and its partners make MBHI happen.
  • Maps - See where NRCS programs are in action.
  • Video - Get up close and personal with birds migrating through MBHI areas, plus stories on CNN, NBC News, and YouTube. Note to reporters: B-roll is available for your MBHI story.
  • Radio Interviews - Hear interviews with former NRCS Chief Dave White and other agency leaders
  • Visit MBHI Partners - Links to some of the organizations working hard for MBHI.






MBHI b-roll for newscasts is available from Kevin Conner, USDA Office of Communications, 202-720-8048. 

Radio Interviews

MBHI Partners