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Wildlife Habitat Management

Painting of ducks flying over a marshWelcome to the Ecological Sciences Division's Wildlife Management.  Wildlife is one of America's most treasured natural resources. Nearly 80 percent of this Nation's wildlife habitat is interspersed over privately owned landscapes. For over 60 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) has worked through 3,000 soil and water conservation districts and other partners to assist landowners and managers with natural resource problems and opportunities, including those associated with wildlife habitat management.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) looks forward to its major role in wildlife habitat planning and management on private lands in America. As part of that effort this web site will provide access to documentation that outlines NRCS policy regarding wildlife management, as well as links to related organizations that can provide additional information.


Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
The WRP is designed to restore and protect wetlands on private property. It is an opportunity for landowners to receive financial incentives to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal agricultural land. WRP also serves to provide fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality, protect biological diversity and provide recreational opportunities.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
The WHIP is for landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private lands. Plans are developed in consultation with the local conservation district and provide both technical and financial assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
The CRP offers annual rental payments, incentive payments for certain activities, and cost-share assistance to establish approved ground cover on eligible cropland. Designed to reduce erosion on sensitive lands, CRP also improves soil and water, and provides significant wildlife habitat. Applications are for 10- and 15-year contracts.

Farmland Protection Program (FPP)
The Farmland Protection Program is a voluntary program that helps farmers keep their land in agriculture. The program provides funding to State, local, or tribal entities with existing farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements or other interests.

National Resources Inventory (NRI)
NRCS is exclusive in completing the NRI on a continual basis to monitor the trends and conditions of the soil, water, and natural resources on private lands throughout the states. Based on this critical information, decision makers and planners can set program priorities and target efforts where the needs are greatest.

Conservation Technical Assistance
NRCS provides assistance to land users for developing and implementing conservation plans on their lands. Each farmers' unique circumstances and needs are carefully considered, and soil types and other resources are evaluated before making conservation recommendations. Conservation practices such as fencing to apply intensive grazing practices, or no-till planting directly into the previous crop residue bed are planned and applied to reduce soil erosion, promote soil moisture retention and improve water quality and soil health. NRCS also works with landowners to develop and implement animal waste and nutrient management plans. These plans provide for wet and dry storage systems as well as the efficient management and use of those nutrients as fertilizer on the land. NRCS works with producers during planning to consider the overall impact on the land and the other plants, animals, and wildlife who live there, as well as economic factors and the sustained use and productivity of the resources.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The EQIP, established by the 1996 Farm Bill, is one of the several voluntary conservation programs which are part of the USDA "Conservation Toolbox." EQIP offers financial, educational, and technical help to install or implement structural, vegetative, and management practices. Through the locally led process, EQIP works primarily in priority areas identified by conservation district-led local work groups involving local community members, state and federal agencies, and others.

ground squirrel, peeking over the grasses.Questions and comments are welcome and encouraged. Please address all correspondence to Kevin Luebke, Biologist, 605-352-1242.