Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program at Turnbull NWR

The Partners Program works with willing private landowners to restore, enhance, and maintain valuable fish and wildlife habitat while leaving the land in private ownership.

Who We Are

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish & Wildlife (PFW) Program is “to efficiently achieve voluntary habitat restoration on private lands through financial and technical assistance for the benefit of federal trust species and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The PFW Program was established in 1987 as recognition that conservation on private lands through voluntary partnerships was necessary to achieve landscape-level benefits for migratory waterfowl populations using major flyways. Approximately 70% of the lands in the United States are in private ownership; therefore, it is essential that the Service and others work closely with private land managers and landowners to achieve meaningful and lasting conservation of federal trust resources. Since its inception, the PFW Program has grown to be a national leader in voluntary private lands restoration to achieve sustainable populations of federal trust species for the benefit of current and future generations.

Our partners are diverse and include agricultural and natural resource dependent communities, rural and suburban interface landowners, Native American tribal governments, indigenous island communities, watershed councils, universities, land trusts, State, Federal, and local agencies, and many others.

Heavy equipment clear out invasive reed canary grass as part of a restoration project.
Partners for Fish and Wildlife: Nevada Coordinator Susan Abele Meets with Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Member to Conduct a Site Visit at Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides free technical and financial assistance to landowners, managers, tribes, corporations, schools and nonprofits interested in improving wildlife habitat on their land. Since 1987, we have helped more than 30,000 landowners to complete more than 50,...

Partners for Fish & Wildlife National Priorities

Plans across the Service share a common set of priorities which include: 

Species Conservation

Implement habitat projects that help prevent decline or support conservation and recovery of species conservation concern, such as Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species, Birds of Conservation Concern, pollinators, and interjurisdictional fishes. This priority supports the Service’s conservation mission and our role as stewards of federal trust species.

Habitat Connectivity

Integrate projects at a landscape level to secure or improve habitat connectivity and functionality. This priority recognizes that interconnected habitats and migration corridors are vital to conservation, and that the work of the PFW Program can support and leverage other conservation efforts conducted by partners within and outside the Service.

Resilient Ecosystems

Advance ecosystem integrity and resilience or adaptation to the impacts of climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
, such as sea level rise, increased in-stream temperatures, drought, and wildfire. This priority acknowledges that climate change affects all-natural systems and the species that rely on them (including humans). The PFW Program can work with diverse partners to support conservation actions that respond to climate change stressors.

Partners Implementation Plan 2022-2026 (508 Compliant).pdf

Welcome to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2022-2026 Implementation Plan for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program in the Pacific Region (Region). The PFW Program undertakes a national planning effort every five years, and this is the fourth generation, reflecting the knowledge and...

Where We Work

The Partners Program located at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge focuses on wetland and upland restoration within the Channeled Scablands Focus Area and Greater Spokane River Watershed, as outlined in the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Strategic Plan. This focus area covers over 3.3 million acres of unique habitat within Spokane, Lincoln, Adams and Whitman counties and is characterized by the shallow soils, abundant wetlands, and unique plant assemblages of Eastern Washington.

The Channeled Scablands Focus Area includes two large-scale geologic features created by glacial floods in the Pleistocene: The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington and the Spokane River basin. Much of the Spokane River basin is covered by deep gravel deposits laid down over successive flood events roughly 10,000 years ago. The Channeled Scablands to the west of the Spokane River basin were also created by these cataclysmic flood events. In this area, the flood waters deeply eroded the Columbia River Basalt Group plateau, leaving giant gravel bars, alluvial aprons, and ephemeral lake deposits across the landscape. Within this area, the wetland basin densities rival those of the upper Midwest’s Prairie Potholes Prairie Potholes
These freshwater marshes are found in the upper Midwestern prairies, especially the Dakotas and Minnesota. Depressions that were created by retreating glaciers about 10,000 years ago;, they fill with water during spring, providing important habitat for waterfowl and many other species. Indeed, the Prairie Pothole Region is often called America’s “duck factory” since around half of the continent’s ducks spend at least part of the year there. The prairie potholes are an important water source, and they help recharge underground aquifers.

Learn more about Prairie Potholes
. This landscape has been identified as a high priority for recovery and habitat restoration of waterfowl, migratory songbirds, and Spalding’s catchfly populations. The focus area covers nearly 3 million acres within Pend Oreille, Stevens, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, Whitman, and Franklin counties and is made up of approximately 80% privately owned property. Land ownership is a mixture of private land, the reservations and trust lands of the Colville; Kalispel; Coeur d’ Alene; and Spokane tribes, the Inland Northwest National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Bureau of Land Management, State and county owned conservation properties, and private, non-profit conservation lands. Outside of the Spokane metropolitan area, communities in this region are mostly small and rural with strong agricultural ties.

The focus area includes more than 22,000 wetland basins covering nearly 76,000 acres; over 80% of these wetland basins are in private ownership. Agriculture and grazing activity in the late 1800’s resulted in major wetland drainage efforts throughout the Channeled Scablands. Few wetlands outside of state or federal ownership have been restored to increase water storage capacity and habitat availability to levels approximating the landscape prior to the ditching efforts.

Channeled Scablands Focus Area (508 Compliant)

Map of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Channeled Scablands Focus Area in eastern Washington

What We Do

Participation in the Partners program requires an agreement with the federal government to spend federal funds on private land and to protect the project for a minimum of 10 years. This is accomplished through a landowner agreement and is not recorded on the property deed. Additionally, the landowner is required to provide a match of 50 percent of the total project cost. This can be accomplished through project assistance, other funding mechanisms, or direct financial assistance to the overall project. The Partners biologist will help in developing  a way to address the match for the project. 

Projects range from simple weed control projects to complete wetland or upland restoration efforts.

Past landowners worked with the program to install water control structures on outlet ditches, excavate wetland bottoms to increase open-water habitat, revegetate stream banks, control invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, and others. The Partners program biologist works with interested landowners to plan and complete the project or find another program, such as Farm Bill related programs, that provides a better overall project fit.

If you are interested in restoring wetlands or uplands on your property and need assistance, please contact us. We look forward to working with you on your project. 

The beginning stages of earth moving on the Pierce Restoration Project.
Middle school students assist with tree planting efforts as part of the Pierce Restoration Project
Winter precipitation fills the newly completed Pierce Restoration Project.

In the News

Program Assistance

The Partners Program may provide the following assistance with your restoration project:

1. Financial assistance up to $25,000 per project and assistance finding funding for projects costing over $25,000 

2. Technical assistance on various aspects of wetland restoration, weed control and forest health

3. Assistance with permit applications for various restoration project types

4. Weed management plans, herbicide applications and bio-control deployment

5. Complete project planning and oversight

6. Tree/shrub revegetation and grass/forb seeding

7. Project specific wetland delineation

Photo of Brian Walker
Private Lands Biologist
Partners for Fish and Wildlife,
National Wildlife Refuge System
Habitat Restoration,
Wetland Delineation,
Topographic Surveys,
Beaver Dam Analogs,
Project Permitting