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News Release

Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative Targets Yazoo Darter

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NEWS RELEASE                                                                  

March 7, 2017

Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative Targets Yazoo Darter

Jackson, Miss. – The United States Department of Agriculture / Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Yazoo Darter Initiative.  Applications that are received by April 21, 2017 will be considered in the first ranking period.

The Yazoo Darter (Etheostoma raneyi) habitat is exclusively within the Yocona and Little Tallahatchie River watersheds. This small species of fish typically inhabit small streams with a variety of streambed types including silt, clay, sand and gravel. This project will allow Mississippi land owners in these watersheds located in portions of Benton, Calhoun, Lafayette, Marshall, Pontotoc, Tippah, Union, and Yalobusha Counties to enhance and create habitat for the Yazoo Darter.

In recent years, Yazoo Darter populations have been in decline, bringing the long-term viability of the species to the concern of scientific experts. Population declines are thought to be the result of poor water quality and habitat modifications such as stream channelization and improper installation of culverts and other stream crossing structures. These serve as fish passage barriers that could significantly limit access to habitat needed for migration, breeding, spawning, feeding and sheltering.

The Yazoo Darter project is part of the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership between the NRCS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the land owner, aimed to establish conservation practices that assist with the restoration of wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

“This WLFW partnership will assist land owners with planning and implementing a variety of conservation practices that will benefit the Yazoo Darter, as well as other local aquatic species close to being endangered,” stated Glynda Clardy, Natural Resources Conservation Service Wildlife Biologist.

Applications for all NRCS financial-assistance programs are accepted on a continuous sign-up process, however specific sign-up deadlines are established to rank, contract and fund qualified tracts of land.  Applications for the Yazoo Darter initiative received by April 21, 2017 will be considered for funding in the first ranking period.

NRCS financial assistance covers part of the cost to implement conservation practices. Interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local USDA service center or go to Environmental Quality Incentives Program link for technical and financial assistance information.  For more information, visit our website at Applications are available at GetStarted.