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Working Lands for Wildlife

Golden-winged Warbler

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your local NRCS office

New York State

For information e-mail
 Rebecca Foltasz
or call 315-477-6508

The nation’s rural landowners, its farmers, ranchers, and forest owners, provide not only food and fiber for the world, but also a host of environmental benefits, including habitat for wildlife.  Nearly two thirds of all species federally listed as threatened or endangered exist on private lands.  Conservation efforts on these lands generate outdoor recreation and economic activity that result in sustained growth for local communities and landowners.

Working Lands for Wildlife logoWU.S. Fish and Wildlife logoorking Lands for Wildlife is a new partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to use agency technical expertise combined with $33 million in financial assistance from the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to combat the decline of seven specific wildlife species whose decline can be reversed and will benefit other species with similar habitat needs. 

Through Working Lands for Wildlife landowners can voluntarily participate in an incentive-based efforts to:

  • Restore populations of declining wildlife species.
  • Provide farmers, ranchers, and forest managers with regulatory certainty that conservation investments they make today help sustain their operations over the long term.
  • Strengthen and sustain rural economies by restoring and protecting the productive capacity of working lands.

Species Selection Criteria

WLFW Brochure CoverThe Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative will target species whose decline can be reversed and will benefit other species with similar habitat needs.

Seven species were identified during a collaborative process with partners for inclusion in the project. Three of the target species are the focus of New York's participation in the WLFW: Golden-winged Warbler, New England Cottontail, and Bog Turtle.

Working Lands for Wildlife (PDF; 2.5 MB)

Want to learn more? This "Science to Solutions" report highlights best ways to help this at-risk species on private lands.

Download the report (PDF; 1.2 MB)Golden Winged Warbler Report Cover Thumbnail

GWorking Lands for Wildlife - Golden-winged Warblerolden-winged Warbler

The most common explanations for the decline of the Golden-winged Warbler point to the loss and degradation of early successional habitat. Golden-winged Warblers and many other species depend upon shrubby, idle vegetated areas like forest clear-cuts, alder swamps, utility rights-of way and other similar habitats for breeding. Several factors have contributed to the decline of these habitats including direct losses to development, re-forestation of farmland, fire suppression, and changes in agricultural and forestry practices.

NRCS Species Page

Golden-winged Warbler Species Fact Sheet (PDF; 437 KB)


NRCS plans to restore 1,700 acres of young forests for New England cottontail by end of 2018 through Working Lands for Wildlife.

Download the strategy (PDF; 660 KB)New England Cottontail Report cover

Working Lands for Wildlife - New England CottontailNew England Cottontail

The primary threat to the New England cottontail is loss of habitat through succession. As forests mature, understory thins to such an extent that the habitat is no longer suitable for New England cottontail. Fragmentation serves to further degrade habitat on a larger scale. Isolation of occupied patches by surrounding areas of unsuitable habitat, coupled with high predation rates, are causing local extirpation of New England cottontail from small patches.

NRCS Species Page

New England Cottontail Species Fact Sheet (PDF; 376 KB)


Working Lands for Wildlife - Bog TurtleBog Turtle

The greatest threats to bog turtles include habitat degradation and fragmentation from land conversion, habitat succession due to invasive exotic and native plants, and illegal trade and collecting. Changes in land use or alterations in water flow reduce a wetland’s ability to function. Wetland habitats have been drained and filled for development, agriculture, road construction and impoundments have severely fragmented the remaining habitat and have created physical barriers, isolating existing bog turtle populations.

NRCS Species Page

Bog Turtle Species Fact Sheet (PDF; 434 KB)

How to Apply for USDA-NRCS Conservation Programs

Learn what steps you will need to take to prepare for, and submit, your application to become a USDA-NRCS Conservation Program participant.

Learn more information on the criteria required to become an eligible EQIP applicant.

More Information

Five Steps to AssistanceLearn how to get started with NRCS.

Service Center Locator

Find your local USDA Service Center.

USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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