Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge
Mountain-Prairie Region
~ Partners for Fish & Wildlife ~

In 1987 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated the N.D. Wildlife Extension Program, now called the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFFW). The program provides financial incentives and technical assistance for landowners to restore, enhance, and conserve wildlife habitat on private land.

The PFFW program includes: wetland restorations and creations, rotational grazing systems and both native and tame grass planting on cropland. Funding for the PFFW program comes from a variety of private, state and Federal sources. It's through this approach that the FWS and private landowners can become partners in wildlife and wetland conservation.

If you would like information about any of these projects, please contact contact Jesse Lisburg@fws.gov or at 701-724-3598 ext 119. For more information visit the North Dakota Partners for Wildlife website.

Grassland Easements
Vast grasslands once covered much of North America. Settlement, agriculture and development have reduced prairie grassland habitats to small isolated patches of grasslands. Loss of grassland is detrimental to wildlife as well as people. Grasslands help reduce soil erosion by wind and water, filter chemicals which help protect water supplies, and trap snow and rain to recharge our ground water. Grasslands provide forage for livestock as well as valuable habitat for food, cover and nesting sites for many species of migratory birds and wildlife.

Grassland easements are signed agreements with landowners to permanently keep land in grass. The majority of these easements are usually areas that exhibit steep and rocky topography considered by many to be marginal land for crop production and are best suited for livestock pastures. Landowners receive significant payments to keep these grasslands intact. Grassland easements restrict landowners from cultivating and/or developing these areas, and delay mowing, haying and seed harvesting until July 15 of each year. This restriction helps grassland nesting species to complete their nesting before the grass is disturbed. Grazing is not restricted in any way.

  • Payments can be estimated at approximately 30% of the fair and true value which is used by the county for tax purposes.
  • Grasslands enrolled in this program may not be cultivated.
  • Mowing, haying, and grass seed harvesting are allowed after July 15 annually.
  • Grazing is not restricted in any way.
  • Perpetual agreement.

Wetland Easements
In 1958, Congress amended the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act (the Duck Stamp Act), which authorized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Small Wetland Acquisition Program. Under this program, the Service has protected well over 2 million acres of wetland and grassland habitat, mostly in the duck producing areas of the Dakotas.

Wetland easements are signed agreements with private landowners to permanently protect valuable wetlands. The landowner receives a one-time payment; protected wetland basins cannot be drained, burned, filled, or leveled. When these wetlands naturally dry up, they can be farmed, grazed or hayed. The land remains in private ownership, remains on the tax rolls, and the landowner controls access.

  • All wetlands are eligible. See handout.
  • A one-time lump-sum payment is made based on a fair market value appraisal.
  • Wetlands covered by an easement cannot be drained, filled, leveled, or burned.
  • Wetlands can be farmed, grazed, or hayed when they dry up naturally.
  • Perpetual agreement.

Rotational Grazing Systems

  • Landowner agrees to a managed rotational grazing system approved by NRCS. (i.e. twice-over, switchback, etc.)
  • No Minimum acreage is required.
  • Pays 40-80% of the cost of fencing materials and water developments needed to implement rotational grazing systems.
  • 10 year agreements.

Wetland Restorations
  • One-time payments based on county rental rates for restoring wetlands.
  • 100% of dirtwork costs will be paid by Fish & Wildlife Service to contractors or private landowners willing to do the work.
  • 10 year agreements.

Wetland Creations
  • Cost share up to $1000/surface acre to install dams for creating wetlands.
  • Shallow wetlands preferred (less than 5 feet deep).
  • May be used as a livestock watering facility.
  • Pays up to 100% of the costs for project that create several acres of wetlands.
  • 20 year agreements.
Grass Seeding
  • 40-100% of the cost of grass seed will be paid to plant cropland to grass.
  • Planted field must be delayed from haying until after July 15 or be part of a managed grazing system.
  • Minimum 10 year agreements on tame grasses and 20 years on native grass.

For more information contact Jesse Lisburg@fws.gov or at 701-724-3598 ext 119.

Last updated: March 10, 2011