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Working Lands for Wildlife

WLFW web headerThrough Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), NRCS works with partners and private landowners to focus voluntary conservation on working landscapes. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers, helping them plan and implement conservation practices that benefit target species and priority landscapes.

Since 2012, NRCS has restored and protected 6.7 million acres of much-needed habitat for a variety of wildlife. These efforts have led to the rebound and recovery of many species, demonstrating the WLFW conservation model works.

WLFW Conservation Model

The conservation model builds on successes in wildlife conservation over the years. The model includes:

  • Trust and Credibility: NRCS takes a community, grassroots approach to conservation that’s based on the principles of neighborliness.
  • Shared Vision: NRCS-recommended conservation practices benefit wildlife and agriculture. Meet some of the Habitat Heroes who have made wildlife-friendly improvements to working lands.
  • Strategic Approach: NRCS directs resources where the biological returns are the highest. See wildlife conservation strategies to learn more about where NRCS is targeting its efforts.
  • Accountability: NRCS and conservation partners use science to measure conservation effectiveness and quantify outcomes. See Science to Solutions reports for more information on the scientific backbone of WLFW and how species are responding to conservation; track WLFW’s efforts by species through wildlife progress reports.
  • Leverage: NRCS brings together partners to multiply investments to achieve more conservation.
  • Regulatory Predictability: Through WLFW, NRCS partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide predictability under the Endangered Species Act, providing peace of mind to participating landowners.

WLFW Project Areas

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​WLFW has seven nationally-identified target species. The habitat needs of these species are representative of healthy, functioning ecosystems where conservation efforts benefit a much broader suite of species. Target species include:

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Additionally, WLFW has 11 projects, which are further accelerating conservation activities for many different species on a variety of working landscapes in 30 states from Florida to Alaska.

Projects focus on declining species that have needs compatible with agricultural practices and rural land management and that can benefit from conservation on private lands. Projects cover the northern bobwhite, rare turtles in the Northeast, salmon in Alaska and many others.

Read more about these projects.

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A Partnership for Conserving Landscapes, Communities & Wildlife.

Conservation efforts on private lands are making a difference across the country, from the sagebrush country of the West to the forests of Appalachia and New England. For these stories and many more, download the agency’s new WLFW magazine, A Partnership for Conserving Landscapes, Communities & Wildlife.

Some of our latest resources include:

  • Science to Solutions report – Sagebrush Songbirds under the Sage Grouse Umbrella: This new Sage Grouse Initiative report demonstrates that a trio of songbirds grew in abundance in areas that have undergone NRCS-led conservation. Download report.
  • Science to Solutions report – NRCS Conservation Practices Boost Prairie Chicken Occupancy: This new Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative report shows a positive link between conservation and prairie chicken occupancy. Download report.
  • Gopher Tortoise Implementation Strategy: This two-year plan guides efforts to restore and protect more than 200,000 acres of habitat. Download strategy.

Email updates: Subscribe to receive periodic email updates on wildlife-related news.

Agricultural producers: To learn more about assistance available through WLFW, contact your local USDA service center. Additionally, information is available online for each of the WLFW species (project boundaries, key practices, etc.) as well as the steps to get started with NRCS.

Conservation partners: See Partner Resources to learn more about collaborating through WLFW.

Contacts: Galon Hall, (202) 690-2196; Tim Griffiths, (406) 587-6812; Bridgett Costanzo, (804) 287-1513; Justin Fritscher, (202) 720-5776.