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News Release

Targeted Funding Available to Restore Wildlife Habitat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Annapolis, Md., February 16, 2018 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications from Maryland farmers and landowners interested in installing conservation practices on agricultural lands to help restore critical wildlife habitat of the American black duck and northern bobwhite.  

The American black duck and northern bobwhite are facing a significant decline due to habitat loss and degradation. NRCS is offering financial and technical assistance to help landowners in targeted areas of Maryland’s eastern shore manage for high-quality wildlife habitat. This assistance helps producers plan and implement a variety of conservation activities, or practices, that benefit the black duck, bobwhite and many other game and non-game species. Interested applicants are encouraged to sign up before March 16 for fiscal year 2018 funding.

Black ducks thrive in the brackish pools between salt and fresh waters that have crop fields nearby. These sites are traditionally found along coastlines. Funding is available for developing tidal marsh habitat on lands affected by saltwater intrusion and planting salt tolerant species to create ideal black duck habitat. Other available practices include developing shallow fresh water areas for wildlife, restoring forested wetlands, and controlling invasive Phragmites to restore tidal marsh habitat.

Bobwhites depend on early successional habitat grasslands, shrubby areas, and pine or oak savannahs for the forbs, legumes and insects that bobwhite need for food and the heavy or brushy cover for nesting, brooding and safety. Funding is available to help landowners replace non-native grasses with native grasses, forbs and legumes that benefit bobwhite and other wildlife, while creating alternative healthy grazing options for livestock.

The American black duck and northern bobwhite are targeted species for the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership, a collaborative approach to conserving habitat for declining species on farms and working forests. NRCS works with Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies to conserve and restore black duck and bobwhite habitat. 

Interested farmers and forest landowners are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible for consideration. Applications are available at your local USDA Service Center. Locations are listed online at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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