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A Private Lands Conservation Tool: The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Before and after photos of the wetland restoration project completed by the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program near Cheney, Washington. In spring 2014, the restored wetland held water for the first time in more than 100 years, covering nearly 200 acres with water. Photos by Brian Walker / USFWS Approximately two-thirds of our nation’s lands are privately owned. Successful long-term conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats rests in the hands of America’s private landowners, who live and work on a variety of landscapes. 
Recognizing that conservation on private lands could be enhanced by technical expertise and financial resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in 1987 to help private landowners with habitat restoration on their property. This cost-share program focuses on improving wetland, riparian, in-stream, fish passage, sage-steppe, grassland and aquatic habitats that provide benefits to migratory birds, threatened or endangered species, and other sensitive and declining species.

Partners Program staff work to develop strong partnerships to:

•Contribute to the health of the land while maintaining the landowner’s quality of life and sustainable business practices

•Utilize technical expertise and efficient state-federal-private resources to accomplish conservation goals

•Emphasize voluntary landowner participation and decision-making 

• Since its first Congressional appropriation of $100,000, the Partners Program has grown to a $50,000,000 program, unanimously authorized by the 109th Congress in the October, 2006 “ Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act .”




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