U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A vibrant bright yellow Warbler bird perches on the branches of nearby trees, backdropped by a bright blue sky

Opportunities for conservation

Information icon A yellow warbler on Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tom Koerner, USFWS.

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Voluntary, proactive conservation of sagebrush wildlife and habitats is the most cost-effective and efficient way to help keep wildlife populations healthy.

To facilitate on-the-ground conservation on privately owned lands, and to provide landowners with peace of mind, the Service offers a variety of tools, including technical and financial assistance as well as conservation agreements, designed to increase certainty and reduce regulatory burdens, while improving habitat conditions for wildlife.

Providing Technical and Financial Assistance

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
A colorful rainbow trout swimming between submerged vegetation
A rainbow trout in the Green River. Photo by Tom Koerner, USFWS.

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is a voluntary, private-lands habitat restoration program where ranchers, tribes, cities, states, schools, and others working in sagebrush country can receive personalized technical and/or financial assistance from trained biologists. It is a cost-share program rather than a grants program, therefore, there is no request for proposals and the landowner does not need to fill out a grant application.

The Partners program works with hundreds of private landowners to develop projects that benefit fish and wildlife species, while also helping ranchers increase their bottom line. The Service can help improve habitats, restore water quality, and reduce invasive species that compete with range production and health. This becomes a win-win for ranchers and the Service.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together, please contact the Partners biologist in your state.

Providing Regulatory Certainty

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs)
Two white Trumpeter Swans, with black beaks and feet, fly across the image, backdropped by grey-blue sky
Trumpeter swans in flight. Photo: Tom Koerner, USFWS.

Conservation of animal and plant resources on non-federal lands is important because many species rely heavily – or even entirely – on such lands. However, due to concern about potential land-use restrictions that could occur if a species becomes listed under the Endangered Species Act, some property owners have been reluctant to engage in conservation activities that encourage use of their land or water by such species.

A Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) addresses this concern by providing incentives for non-federal property owners (private citizens, states, local governments, Native American Tribal governments, conservation organizations, and other non-federal entities) to engage in voluntary conservation activities that provides a net conservation benefit to unlisted species, including those that are candidates, proposed, or likely to become candidates to be listed under the Act. A CCAA provides participating property owners with a permit containing assurances that, if they engage in certain conservation actions for species included in the agreement, they will not be required to implement additional conservation measures beyond those in the CCAA if the species were to be listed under the Act in the future.

If the species is listed, additional land, water, or resource use limitations will not be imposed upon them, unless they consent to such changes.

Federally owned and/or managed lands may be included in a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) to allow for consistent management across private/public lands.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together on CCAAs or CCAs in sagebrush, please contact Angela Burgess at (303) 236-4263.

References and More Information

Green sagebrush pepper the landscape, with the soil covered with a black mesh tarp
Sagebrush for transplating. A sagebrush plant that grew successfully from seed. Photo by Jen Strickland, USFWS.