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Reversing Declines in Grassland Biodiversity


The southeastern region of the United States was one of the most diverse grassland regions of North America, yet more than 99% has been lost due to such factors as conversion to row crop agriculture, forest succession, and wetland drainage.  Reversing the decline in grassland biodiversity will require a regional effort with a multitude of partners.  The objective of this project is to conduct a multifaceted conservation program that will complement existing efforts, especially near protected landscapes.  This project is being coordinated by, and submitted under, the auspices of the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture (CHJV).  The partnership consists of a combination of formal CHJV partners as well as businesses, organizations, and agencies ranging from those with a long history of conservation success to the newly emerging.  The work proposed includes efforts needed to recover populations of grassland bird species deemed in need of conservation attention by Partners in Flight, as well as the native biodiversity associated with the historic grassland landscapes of the Interior Low Plateaus ecoregion of Tennessee and Kentucky.  Habitat improvements for the bird species of concern, which are more dependent on vegetation structure than on species composition, can be accomplished by opening up suppressed native grasslands with removal of woody cover and prescribed fire, reconversion of cropland or fescue pastures to native grasses, increasing forb-to-grass ratios, changing grazing intensities, and altering haying regimes.  This project will use financial assistance from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to encourage landowners within Kentucky and Tennessee to employ the practices mentioned. 

Project Location Counties

Applications will be accepted in every County in Kentucky; however, some regions of the State are considered higher priority habitat areas than others.  These areas will be given priority during the ranking process.

How to Apply and Application Batching Period Dates

Interested applicants can submit an RCPP-EQIP application at their local NRCS Field Office. Eligible applications will be ranked using the Reversing Declines in Grassland Biodiversity RCPP Ranking Questions.

Fiscal Year 2021 Application Batching Periods: November 20, 2020 and May 21, 2021

Cost estimates for approved applications will be generated using the FY 2021 RCPP-EQIP Payment Schedule.     

For more information about the project and the partners working together to make this project successful, see the handouts below.