North Florida Ecological Services Office
Southeast Region
Image of prescibed fire in flatwood forest habitat.

Prescibed burn in flatwoods forest habitat. (USFWS Photo by Josh O'Connor)

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program delivers on-the-ground habitat restoration projects that benefit at-risk and federal trust species including threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and anadromous fish. Projects restore and enhance degraded habitat and, in some cases, create new habitat.

Partners Wanted

This program operates on a voluntary basis, so please contact us with ideas and questions! In addition to partnerships with private landowners, we work with private organizations, schools, and local, state, or other non-federal government programs.

Restoring Habitats on Private Lands

Photo of Garrett's mint flower

Garrett's mint flower (USFWS Photo by Dave Bender)

Partners for Fish & Wildlife is a pro-active program that promotes voluntary participation by landowners by providing financial and technical assistance for planning and implementing habitat improvements on their property.

Highest priority projects are those that restore native habitat and provide long-term benefits to at-risk and Federal trust species. Of particular interest are species that have been petitioned for listing, but whose status is still being evaluated (i.e., we are trying to avoid the need to list them). Examples of common project types include:

  • Establishment of longleaf pine and other native trees and shrubs
  • Native groundcover restoration
  • Removing non-native vegetation
  • Restoring ephemeral and other wetlands for native wildlife
  • Livestock exclusion fencing and off-site watering
  • Improving in-stream habitat conditions for mussels, crayfish, and other aquatic fauna
  • Addressing water quality and quantity in springs and aquatic caves

For specific criteria that we strive to meet for projects in priority habitats, Click here.

Click here to see a summary of priority habitats identified in our strategic plan.

How the Program Works

Photo of partners working on a Florida Golden aster intiative.

Partners working on a Florida Golden aster intiative. (USFWS Photo by Annie Dziergowski)

  • First, an interested landowner, or a representative, contact us (see contacts listed below) to ask questions and discuss ideas.
  • Projects are developed year round. A USFWS Partners biologist will meet on site with the landowner and anyone that they would like to be present to discuss the landowner's goals and objectives for restoring habitat on the property.
  • Often, county foresters, NRCS conservationists, or state fish and wildlife biologists take part in the discussions to address the landowner’s goals. The Partners biologist helps determine effective habitat improvements for the project property, including advice on design, techniques, work plan and budget.
  • The Fish and Wildlife Service will provide technical advice on project design, materials to be used, and for aquatic restorations, the plan for engineering as needed. Funding and cost share responsibilities will be discussed.
  • Although we conduct site visits and develop plans for restoration projects any time of year, agreements are typically finalized in summer with project funding available in fall or winter.
  • A Habitat Restoration Design is developed by the participating partners together with the Fish and Wildlife Service project managers. The USFWS biologist is responsible for completing an appropriate environmental review, including the required National Environmental Policy Act review, an endangered species consultation, a contaminant site assessment and a cultural resource review.
  • If funding is approved, a Landowner Agreement (see PDF example) is developed and signed by the participating partners, and a method of payment is determined in order to reimburse the landowner or contractor. The landowner agreement secures the federal investment and is like a formal handshake that outlines each partner's responsibilities and outlines the project goals and costs.
  • A Notice of Award is then issued to the landowner obligating the necessary funding for implementation of the project.
  • The last step is implementation and enjoying the results!

Links to Partners for Fish & Wildlife Programs in Other Areas

Regional Contacts

Photo of scrub habitat restoration on private land.

Scrub habitat restoration on private lands. (USFWS Photo, Florida Partners Program)

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Last updated: November 20, 2019