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News Release

USDA NRCS Announces Southeast Kentucky Early Successional Habitat Initiative


CONTACT: Christy Morgan
Acting Public Affairs Specialist


Lexington, KY 12-18-2012— The US Department of Agriculture’s  Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has an exciting new initiative in several eastern and southeastern Kentucky counties that may be of interest to landowners. The Southeast Kentucky Early Successional Habitat initiative is focused on creating and maintaining areas of early successional habitat for wildlife on privately owned nonindustrial forestland and agricultural land. Early successional habitat includes areas of young regenerating forest, weedy old fields, and shrubby reclaimed mine lands. This initiative is being offered in Kentucky under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

The goal of this initiative is to increase the amount of early successional habitat for a suite of wildlife species by providing private landowners with technical guidance and potential financial assistance.  These seemingly unproductive habitats are very productive for wildlife, as many species, both game and non-game, either depend on or greatly benefit from areas of early successional habitat within or adjacent to mature forest stands. Ruffed grouse, American woodcock, cottontail rabbits, golden-winged warblers, cerulean warblers, wild turkey, elk, and deer are some of the many species that can benefit by managing for early successional habitat. Priority for these younger stage forest and field habitats is needed because they are generally lacking within the initiative area due to forest maturation and a lack of active forest management.

Emphasis will be placed on conservation practices including Forest Stand Improvement (TSI, patch clear cuts, edge feathering), Brush Management (controlling invasive species), and Tree/Shrub Establishment (planting desirable species), but other practices are available also. Detailed conservation plans and recommendations will be developed for program participants by wildlife biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), in conjunction with NRCS conservationists.

The Southeast Kentucky Early Successional Habitat initiative is being offered in the following Kentucky counties: Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Rockcastle, Whitley, and Wolfe.

Applications for EQIP are accepted at local NRCS offices year-round. However, to be considered for funding during 2013, applications must be received by one of two upcoming ranking cut-off dates: January 18 and April 19, 2013.

For more information or to apply for the Southeast Kentucky Early Successional Initiative, please contact your local NRCS District Conservationist ( or KDFWR Private Lands Biologist.

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