Skip Navigation

Northern Plains Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative

Rye grass cover crops grow in corn residue.The Northern Plains Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (NPMBHI) is focused on the future, with projects that will benefit wildlife, landowners, and the environment for years to come. Projects provide 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.

The objective of the initiative is to enhance habitats for migratory birds, improve water quality/quantity, and increase grassland health within the proposal area. The project is designed to assist agricultural producers in developing sustainable agricultural and wildlife habitat systems by conserving and restoring grasslands and farmed wetlands.

NPMBHI provides financial assistance through Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wetlands Reserve Program funds to provide habitat for migratory birds. Assistance is available in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Iowa's PPR covers the following counties: Boone, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, Cerro Gordo, Clay, Dallas, Dickinson, Emmet, Franklin, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Jasper, Kossuth, Marshall, Osceola, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Polk, Sac, Story, Webster, Winnebago, Worth, Wright.

NRCS accepts and processes NPMBHI applications on a continuous basis. However, NRCS sets dates to prioritize applications as funding allows. The first batching and ranking of applications for fiscal year 2014 is Oct. 4, 2013. The second cutof date for batching and ranking applications is Feb. 21, 2014. Contact your local NRCS office for more details.


  • In Iowa, $200,000 is available per year for 5 years (beginning in 2011) to be used for establishment of Winter Hardy Cover Crops in the PPR. The payment schedule is established based on 75% of the average cost to install the practice. 
  • NPMBHI Fiscal Year 2013 Application Ranking (PDF)
  • National Bulletin (PDF)


  • In Iowa, $4 million is available per year for 5 years (beginning in 2011) to create, enhance or restore wetlands in areas 80 acres or larger within one mile of a permanently protected wetland or grassland area.


Paul Goldsmith, EQIP Coordinator
Phone: 515-284-4353