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Hayland & pasture in the Champlain Valley can be prime habitat for grassland birds with the right management




The general term “Biology” used within the NRCS is primarily used to represent land-based and aquatic organisms and their habitats. The primary objectives related to biological resources such as fish and wildlife and their habitats are:

  •  To restore, create, maintain, or enhance terrestrial and aquatic habitat that can attract, support, or produce wildlife and aquatic organisms.
  •  To conserve the habitats of wildlife and aquatic organisms and to minimize or avoid damage to habitat from changes in land use or from installation of soil, water, animals, plants, air, and related human resource conservation measures. 

Whether we are helping a landowner interested in improving wildlife habitat on their land or working to minimize the negative effects on habitat of other conservation practices being installed for a different purpose, NRCS will protect the biological resources of Vermont.

NRCS Habitat Priorities for Vermont

NRCS in Vermont has established habitat priorities through the 2007 WHIP plan. While the plan was written specifically to guide the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) it is also being used as the framework to guide wildlife conservation priorities and targets for the NRCS in Vermont for all programs. The priorities outlined in this plan are well founded, being based upon recognized priority habitat concerns from the State’s Wildlife Action Plan, other science-based regional initiatives or plans, and current peer-reviewed literature.

Habitat priorities in Vermont include but are not limited to:

  • Riparian Forests – improved through tree planting, invasive plant control, etc.
  • Aquatic Habitat – improved through removal or modification of barriers, stream restoration, fencing livestock away from streams, etc.
  • Wetlands – degraded wetlands are improved through ditch plugs, building depressional areas, tree planting, invasive plant control, etc.
  • Early Successional Habitats:
  •  Grassland Habitats – improved through alternative haying and grazing schedules to accommodate nesting of grassland birds
  •  Old Field/Shrub-lands – improved through tree cutting and alternative brush hogging schedules, invasive plant control, etc. to benefit shrub-land birds
  •  Young Forests – improved or created through forestry activities such as tree cutting to benefit shrub-land birds and various other wildlife 
  • Mature Forest Habitats –improvements to vertical/horizontal structure for forest birds through silviculture, mast tree management, invasive plant control, etc.

Vermont-specific Information Sheets:

Links to NRCS National Web sites:

NRCS National NRCS Fish and Wildlife Web Page:

NRCS National NRCS Insects and Pollinators Web Page:

NRCS National NRCS Invasive Species and Pests Web Page: