Partners for Fish & Wildlife
Midwest Region

Michigan Wetlands. Photo by USFWS.
Michigan Wetlands. Photo by USFWS.

Karner Blue Butterfly. Photo by Joel Trick/USFWS.
Karner Blue Butterfly. Photo by Joel Trick/USFWS.

Brook Trout. Photo by USFWS.
Brook Trout. Photo by USFWS.

Monarch Caterpillar. Photo by Jessica Bolser/USFWS.
Monarch Caterpillar. Photo by Jessica Bolser/USFWS.

Oak. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.
Oak. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program?
Through voluntary agreements, we provide expert technical assistance and cost-share incentives directly to private landowners to restore fish and wildlife habitat.

Who can become a partner?
Any privately-owned land is potentially eligible for restoration, including working farms and recreation lands. Most participants are individual private landowners. For purposes of this program, "privately-owned" means land not owned by a State or the Federal Government. Partners may include individual landowners, tribes, organizations, municipalities and corporations.

What habitats are restored?
In the Midwest we primarily restore wetlands, grasslands, forests and stream corridors. Often combinations of these habitats are restored on a landowner’s property.

Where does the program focus its effort?
We focus on projects that will provide the greatest benefits for

  • Federal trust species (migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, migratory fish)
  • Complementing National Wildlife Refuge System lands
  • Reducing habitat fragmentation
  • Other considerations include: permanently protected lands, lands identified as a conservation priority and cost effectiveness

What are the benefits?
We fulfill the landowner’s habitat conservation goals by working one-on-one to improve habitat. This may include improving a habitat to attract certain species or restoring fallow or cultivated land to its historical ecological state. Restoration may improve populations of many fish and wildlife species and may even result in the recovery of endangered species.

How do I get started?
A simple phone call or email can connect you with a local biologist who will listen to your goals and explain our priorities. After an initial site visit, we will work with you to develop a project plan. A landowner agreement between you and the biologist will specify the work to be done, financial contributions and restoration timeline.

What is a landowner agreement?
Before implementing habitat projects, the landowner(s) and the project biologist sign an agreement that specifies the work to be done and financial contributions.

  • The length of the agreement must be at least 10 years, although longer time commitments are encouraged.
  • There is no minimum cost-share requirement, although projects with a higher cost-share, especially from the landowner, are more competitive. Cost-share may be in-kind (e.g. labor, materials, use of equipment) or monetary.
  • The landowner agrees to maintain the restoration project throughout the agreement period.
  • The agreement states that a landowner will not return the project to its former use or damage or destroy the project during the agreement period without reimbursing us for the funds spent on the project.

How is financial assistance provided?
The landowners may perform the restoration construction and be reimbursed directly for some or all of their expenses. We may also hire a contractor, conduct the work ourselves or coordinate with one of our partners to complete the project.

How is cost share determined?
Cost share is different for each project and is determined by several factors including: project location, type of habitat being restored, species that will benefit, etc. The local biologist will be able to discuss more specific cost share options after visiting the project site.

Do my land rights change?
The landowner does not forfeit any property rights and is not required to allow public access.

Do landowners have to allow public access to their lands if they participate?
No. Landowners retain the right to restrict public access and egress. Through prearranged agreements, we may receive access to check on progress.

When will restoration activities be done?
The project will be completed as soon as possible based on the site selection priorities, available funds, permit acquisition and site conditions. Most projects are completed within six months to a year, but some take multiple growing seasons.

Who is responsible for project maintenance?
The landowner agreement will identify any future management recommendations. These will be the responsibility of the landowners. The local biologist will be available for technical assistance if necessary.

Last updated: September 24, 2012