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2020 VPA-HIP Project Award Summaries

Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program awards for 2020.

Arizona Dept Of Game And Fish $1,175,078
The Arizona Department of Game and Fish (AGFD) will maintain and expand its Landowner Relations Program. Through this program, AGFD provides financial incentives to private landowners in exchange for public access agreements. These access agreements will provide the public with opportunities for hunting, fishing and other wildlife dependent recreation.
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission $2,100,000
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) will expand the existing Arkansas Waterfowl Rice Incentive Conservation Enhancement (ARWRICE) Program. Through the ARWRICE program, AGFC provides financial incentives to rice producers near select Wildlife Management Areas and National Wildlife Refuges to increase public hunting access on private rice fields while improving wildlife habitat. This program will work with landowners to enhance waterfowl habitat quality that has been declining due to changing agricultural practices. 
Colorado Division Of Parks And Wildlife $1,220,000
The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will expand Colorado’s Walk-In Access (WIA) Program. Through the WIA program, CWP delivers opportunities to landowners statewide, opening privately owned lands to increase public access for small and big game hunting.
Georgia Department Of Natural Resources $1,918,750
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will lease privately-owned farm, forestland, and agricultural cropland for dove hunting to expand the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s current Wildlife Management Area Public Access Program.

Additionally, funds received from this grant will be used to provide incentives to enhance wildlife habitat on enrolled lands.  
Idaho Dept Of Fish And Game $900,000
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) will expand its existing public access program, Access Yes!, to enroll additional acres for hunting and angling. IDFG will increase the number of acres of private land containing quality wildlife habitat that are open to public access in Idaho. IDFG will also create a new Teton Valley Wildlife Viewing project to provide habitat and viewing opportunities for Sandhill cranes and waterfowl.
Illinois Department Of Natural Resources $2,008,800
The State of Illinois will maintain and expand its successful Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). The grant will allow IRAP to focus on two specific land usesmetropolitan areas and USDA Wetland Reserve acres. To encourage landowners to provide public hunting and fishing access and improve habitat, IRAP will incentivize the implementation of habitat improvement projects for landowners as well as educate private landowners on best management practices.  
Indiana Department Of Natural Resources $750,000
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will enroll private land strategically targeted throughout the state into its existing Access Program Providing Land Enhancements (APPLE). APPLE provides opportunities to expand outdoor recreational activities such as game bird, waterfowl, turkey, deer, & small game hunting. 
Iowa Department Of Natural Resources $1,500,000
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will expand the Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP). DNR will assist landowners in developing wildlife habitat plans and will provide financial incentives to complete those plans. In exchange for DNR services, landowners will sign a contract allowing public hunting access. The program will be available statewide to maximize landowner participation.  
Kansas Department Of Wildlife, Parks And Tourism $2,100,000
The State of Kansas will expand its existing public access programs to provide more opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other forms of wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation. The programs will expand lease options and incentive payments made available to landowners for both access and habitat improvement on their properties.
Kentucky Department Of Fish & Wildlife Resources $850,000
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) will create an access program with two components. The first component will build upon and expand the already successful KDFWR Cooperative Dove Field Program. The second component will create Kentucky’s first ever access program targeted specifically for participants that own lands with wetland reserve easements, called the WRE/WRP Access Program (WAP). 
Michigan Department Of Natural Resources $1,587,600
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) will increase public access for hunting and other wildlife-dependent recreation through a strategic expansion of its Hunting Access Program (HAP). This project will help the agricultural community provide hunting opportunities on private land to reduce deer numbers in the Michigan Bovine Tuberculosis zone. The project will also provide new opportunities for hunting of sharp-tailed grouse which predominantly occur on private land.
Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources $2,507,141
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will maintain and expand its Walk-In Access (WIA) program to provide Minnesotans with new and continued opportunities for hunting, nature photography, and birdwatching. To encourage landowners to retain conservation lands, primarily grasslands, DNR will offer incentives to allow public access for wildlife dependent recreation.  
Missouri Department Of Conservation $2,230,347
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will expand and enhance its Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP) to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. MDC will provide access payments and financial assistance to private landowners willing to improve wildlife habitat on their private farm, ranch, and forest land while also agreeing to allow public access on these improved lands. 
Montana Department Of Fish, Wildlife And Parks $1,894,060.50
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) will expand its Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program and provide walk-in game bird hunting access on previously inaccessible acres with high-quality game bird habitats. FWP’s objective for expanding Open Fields is to offer rental payments to landowners managing high quality game bird habitat who were not previously eligible for the opportunity. 
Nebraska Game And Parks Commission $3,000,000
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) will increase public access to private lands for hunting, trapping, and fishing through its Open Fields and Waters (OFW) program. Through OFW, NGPC offers financial incentives to private landowners willing to allow walk-in public access on their land for outdoor recreation. Additionally, NGPC offers incentives for habitat improvement projects on private lands enrolled in OFW to enhance game and fish populations and provide a high-quality experience for the public.  
Ohio Department Of Natural Resources $1,831,500
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife will develop the Ohio Public Access for Wildlife (OPAW) program to create new hunting, trapping, and wildlife watching opportunities on private land in Ohio. The OPAW program will issue incentive payments to enrolled landowners for providing public access to lands they own. The OPWA will operate this program in tandem with the existing Ohio Division of Wildlife access program, the Cooperative Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing Program.   
Oklahoma Department Of Wildlife Conservation $3,000,000
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) will expand its Oklahoma Land Access Program (OLAP) to restore and enhance access to private farmland, ranchland, and timberlands for hunting, angling, and wildlife viewing. OLAP will establish an online recreational access management system to manage and control access. This project will allow ODWC to offer more opportunities for access to properties near metro areas.
Oregon Department Of Fish And Wildlife $2,855,636
The State of Oregon will expand its existing public access program to provide additional opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreation and maintain current access secured using prior VPA-HIP funding. The existing program will be expanded to provide incentives to more landowners willing to participate in the public access program. 
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission $668,361
The PA Fish and Boat Commission will expand its existing Public Fishing Access and Conservation Easement program to provide more opportunities for fishing and boating by involving more private landowners in the program. The goal of the Public Fishing Access and Conservation Easement Program is to ensure quality public fishing access in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Santa Clara Pueblo $1,000,000
Santa Clara Pueblo is a federally recognized tribe of Native American people located along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico. VPA-HIP funding will be used to support the restoration of public access to the Santa Clara Canyon. In addition to providing public access to recreational sites, this project will support the design and construction of off channel ponds and habitat improvements for fishing opportunities. 
South Carolina Department Of Natural Resources $469,476
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will increase the number of public access hunting opportunities that are currently offered through its Public Waterfowl Lottery Hunts Program. SCDNR will lease blinds in intensively managed waterfowl impoundments throughout the state. This will allow public hunter groups to partake in private lands waterfowl hunting opportunities.
South Dakota Department Of Game, Fish And Parks $2,175,000
The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) will expand its existing public hunting and fishing access programs to provide more recreational opportunities for the public. SDGFP will increase the number of acres of private land with quality wildlife habitat and the number of waters on private land that are open to public hunting and fishing access in South Dakota. SDGFP will also develop fishing access points on private lands to waters with established fisheries.  
Texas Parks And Wildlife Department $1,830,995
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will expand its Public Hunting Draw System, its Annual Public Hunting program, and its River Access and Conservation Areas Program. TPWD will increase the number of public hunting areas and days. It will increase the acreage of an existing small game hunting lease program and also the number of private land drawn hunting permits available through the state run system. TPWD will also maintain existing leased river access sites and establish new leased river access sites for fishing, paddling and wildlife viewing. 
Virginia Department Of Game And Inland Fisheries $2,998,250

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will create a public access program that significantly expands upon its existing Public Access Lands for Sportsmen program. The program will offer financial incentives to private landowners who allow the public to access their lands for the purposes of wildlife-dependent recreation. Financial incentives will also be offered to landowners to improve or enhance wildlife habitats on enrolled lands.  
Washington State Department Of Fish & Wildlife $2,736,090
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will enhance its Private Lands Access Program by providing landowner incentive payments that promote wildlife activities such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing throughout the state of Washington. Additionally, WDFW will help landowners enhance wildlife habitat on their lands.
Wisconsin Dept Of Natural Resources $1,905,515
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will expand on its Voluntary Public Access & Habitat Incentive Program that provides the public with opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and observing wildlife on private lands. The State will focus implementation on wetland and grassland conservation opportunity areas in 52 south Wisconsin counties. Additionally, DNR will expand eligibility for the program to landowners is 19 of the 20 remaining counties that previously could not participate. VPA-HIP funds will also be used for lease payments through the Department’s Turkey Hunting Access Program (THAP).  
Wyoming Game And Fish Commission $1,537,401
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will provide new hunting and fishing opportunities on private lands through its Access Yes Program, Lands Program and Habitat Program. Funds will also be used to promote recreational use of properties enrolled in the programs and to enhance properties through habitat projects.