Wetland easements protect wetland areas on private land. Landowners retain ownership of the land and may hay or farm the wetlands basins when conditions allow. The easements are perpetual and stay with the land when ownership changes. Through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Wildlife program, Service staff works with landowners to improve productivity of these wetlands by building nesting structures, improving nesting cover, and other efforts.
Grassland easements protect grasslands from tillage or other disturbance on private land. Landowners retain ownership and may graze the grasslands at their discretion. Haying on the grasslands is delayed each year until July 15. Grassland easements are purchased primarily on native prairie habitat in areas of high wetland densities.
Private lands with easements to manage wildlife and water use are called easement refuges. Easement refuges were first established during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930's. Refuge lands are often farmed or grazed, but are usually closed to hunting. Easement refuges provide stable water areas and safe havens for migrating waterfowl.
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