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Georgia GA/FL Feral Swine Control Pilot Project

Points of Contact

Tina Jerome 
State Resource Conservationist 
USDA-NRCS State Office
355 E Hancock Ave Athens, GA 30601
706-546-2009

Odin Stephens 
District Supervisor 
USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services 200 Phoenix Road
Athens, GA 30605
706-546-5637

Project Area

The Red Hills region is located between Tallahassee FL and Thomasville GA and represents the largest concentration of undeveloped planation lands in the United States.   This region provides critical water supply for residents of Florida, Georgia and Alabama as it serves as on one of the highest recharge areas for the Floridan Aquifer.

The Red Hills Region pilot project area includes locations in both Georgia and Florida. This important pilot project will allow two programs to work in unison while maintaining a similar objective. Project boundaries were defined using USGS 12 digit hydrologic units. The following criteria was considered when selecting this project area: existing partnership with APHIS, property owner interest, EPD priority watersheds impaired for fecal coliform, cropland acreage, proximity to potential feral swine refuges and feral swine population densities.

The Georgia pilot project areas includes properties located in Grady, Thomas and Brooks counties. Cotton, peanuts and com are the main crops produced in all three counties. Historical feral swine control efforts on properties have seemingly been ineffective to combat feral swine damage. As a result, some cropland have remained fallow due to feral swine activity. A unified feral swine management approach is warranted to reduce associated damage.

Estimated Equipment Needed

NRCS funds may be used for the equipment necessary for the pilot project. Further questions about the equipment needed, the amount, and use of the equipment should be directed to the point of contract for the project. It is expected that the following equipment will be crucial for the implementation of the project within the pilot area:

  • Monitoring cameras
    • Up to 30 cellular activated cameras to provide real time monitoring 
  • Cell service plans for all cellular activated cameras
    • Up to 30 trail cameras to provide continuous monitoring
    • SD cards for data storage
  • Bait storage
    • Grain bins or conex containers
  • UTV and trailer
    • Access to remote locations for monitoring and removal purposes
  • Fecal coliform evaluation equipment
  • Other equipment associated with successful program implementation

Monitoring/Evaluation Requirements of Partner

Due to the new nature of the pilot program, it will be crucial to collect, monitor, and evaluate data regarding feral swine populations, agricultural damage, and environmental concerns. For this project, partners are expected to:

  • Develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation program
    • Strategies may include: Pre/post feral swine removal surveys, crop damage assessments, documenting acreages put back into production post removal, water quality evaluations of fecal coliform, natural resources protection, etc.
  • Evaluate techniques and strategies utilized to remove feral swine, both by APHIS and landowners that are participating in the project
  • Analyze population data
  • Measure feral swine local populations before, during, and after the project

Anticipated Partnerships within the Project

It is important that the partner be able to work with the below entities, as well as state and local governments that work in the pilot areas.

  • University of Georgia/University of Florida or other local university- provide a graduate student to conduct feral swine damage assessments to determine the efficacy of the pilot project. 
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
    • Wildlife Resources and Law Enforcement Divisions: assist with outreach and education efforts.  Enforce the illegal transportation of feral swine.
    • Environmental Protection Division: provide guidance on water sample collection and analysis
  • Florida Wildlife Commission

Outreach/Education Expectations

Education and outreach will be essential aspects of the project to ensure landowners are educated on the need for removing feral swine, approved techniques, and methods for controlling feral swine populations. Partners are expected to assist with outreach and education activities in the following ways:

  • Assist APHIS with organizing a minimum of 4 workshops per year consisting of trap construction demonstrations, guidance on proper trapping and baiting strategies, feral swine sign and damage recognition, shooting strategies, state specific feral swine laws, non-lethal deterrents and camera trap placement and operation.
  • Provide a centralized location to conduct such workshops.

Additional Partner Requirements

  • Coordination between APHIS and property owners
  • Purchase and distribution of NRCS funded resources to property owners and APHIS
  • The partner must have knowledge of the local area and relationships with existing property owners
  • The partner will serve as a liaison between APHIS and property owners and will assist in developing a focal area which will include a minimum 90% landowner participation
    • The focal area will total no more than 50,000 to 100,000 contiguous acres inside the project area
  • The partner will assist with acquiring work initiation documents (WS form 12A) from property owners to allow APHIS to provide direct control activities on identified properties