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Ten Great Habitats for Fish and Wildlife

Ten Great Habitats for Fish and Wildlife

To improve your land for fish and wildlife, think first of the food, water, cover, and space needs for the wildlife you want to attract throughout the year. Then begin to establish plants, water sources, and other practices that fit those needs. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers technical and financial help for landowners planning for wildlife habitat.

Here are ten of the top habitats for wildlife:

  1. Restored wetland. If you had to choose a single habitat or practice, this is probably the one used by the most species.
  2. Windbreak/shelterbelt. Rows of trees and shrubs, particularly evergreens and fruiting shrubs, offer prime shelter and food in the winter.
  3. Riparian buffer. Habitat value is enhanced by being next to water, and vegetation along streams improves water quality for fish and wildlife.
  4. Diverse grass planting. Blocks of native grasses and forbs intermingled with forage land and fields can offer grassland birds nesting and cold weather cover, as well as protection from predators.
  5. Managed timber. Plant lower densities, thin or burn, or leave open spaces or borders of grasses and legumes. Leave trees along streams for fish habitat.
  6. Habitat connection corridors. Large blocks of grasslands, croplands, wetlands, or woodlands are most useful when connected by corridors of grasses and trees such as fencerows and waterways that protect wildlife on the move.
  7. Managed grazing land. Planned rotational grazing can protect streamsides for fish, create diverse habitat for wildlife, open up dense vegetation canopies, and provide nesting habitat and cover.
  8. Restored in-stream habitat. Offers properly functioning stream channels, which provide habitat for numerous fish and wildlife species and help control floods.
  9. Edge plantings. "Edge" cover, a strip of grasses and shrubs planted between a field and forest, meets several wildlife needs at once.
  10. Clean water. Conservation practices that protect upland soils and streamsides also produce cleaner water for wildlife, fish, livestock, and people.

For more information about conservation practices that can improve wildlife habitat on your land, stop at the local NRCS office.

Wildlife Ways

Did you know....
More than 25,000 acres of habitat have been created on private lands in Montana by the NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program.


If you encounter any problems with the file provided on this page, please contact Technical Resources at 406-587-6822.

The following documents require Adobe Reader.

Specification 644: Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management (PDF; 47 KB)
Specification 645: Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (PDF; 191 KB)