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Avocet flying over a Prairie Pothole wetland.

Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative - Montana

Apply by: October 27, 2023

The Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative is an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initiative used by NRCS in Montana. 

The Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative (MBRI), is aimed at preserving, protecting, and improving habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, neotropicals, and other avian species in the Prairie Pothole Region. Prairie pothole wetlands provide critical food and habitat for these species.

The initiative is focused on unmanipulated wetlands of two acres or less within working cropland as identified on the National Wetland Inventory. NRCS will work with applicants to determine which wetlands are eligible based on the National Wetlands Inventory. Once the wetlands are deemed eligible, producers will then decide which of the three available levels of management is appropriate for their operation. 

  • Management Level 1: Implement conservation cover and permanent vegetation on wetlands that are wholly or partially in cropland.
  • Management Level 2: Cease cropping, maintain wetland hydrology that provides adequate forage and cover in areas where normal cropland production restricts that growth. 
  • Management Level 3: Crops and annual vegetation will not be harvested during the primary nesting season. 

Eligible Land  

Cropland is the only eligible land use for this initiative. Agricultural land managers in the Prairie Pothole Regions of Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Daniels, Dawson, Glacier, Hill, Liberty, McCone, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Teton, Toole, and Valley counties may be eligible.

Migratory Bird Resurgence EQIP Initiative area in Montana

Eligible Conservation Practices

  • 327 Conservation Cover
  • 644 Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management.  

Detailed information on conservation practice standards and specifications can be found in Section 4 of the Field Office Technical Guide.


When to Apply

Program applications are accepted on a continual basis. However, NRCS establishes application ranking dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. Applications received after the ranking date will be automatically deferred to the next funding period. See Montana Programs and Application Dates.

Local Ranking Questions

NRCS uses these questions to evaluate eligible applications for this project and to prioritize applications for potential funding.

What level/scenario of management will be implemented? Select only one answer.

  • Level/Scenario 1 - Management and monitoring on idled cropland for wetland wildlife, foregone income.
  • Level/Scenario 2 - Idling cropland for wetland wildlife.
  • Level/Scenario 3 - Monitoring and management (continue farming it)

What percentage of duck breeding pairs does the majority of the PLUs intersect?

  • More than 80 breeding pairs per square mile
  • 80-60 breeding pairs per square mile
  • 60-40 breeding pairs per square mile
  • 40-20 breeding pairs per square mile
  • Less than 20 breeding pairs per square mile
  • Otherwise

Additional Information

Additional Information

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.