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For private landowners

Partners for Fish and Wildlife program

A large percentage of the land in Louisiana is privately owned. Without conservation efforts on private lands, our trust resources would simply not survive. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program supports landowners who may lack the technical and financial support necessary to manage their land for wildlife.

Partners for Fish and Wildlife is the primary mechanism for delivering voluntary habitat improvement projects on private lands for the benefit of federal trust species (such as migratory birds or migratory fish), endangered or threatened species, or any other at-risk species. Biologists provide technical and financial assistance to landowners who want to restore and enhance habitats on their property.

All private landowners qualify to participate in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. This includes individuals, family trusts, corporate owners, non-profit organizations, local governments, schools and universities.

Most of Louisiana’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects have occurred in two main habitat types: forested wetlands (bottomland hardwoods) and longleaf pine, although projects have been completed in prairie, chenier, shortleaf pine, riparian, and various wetland habitats as well. Some projects are educational in nature, providing the necessary materials and opportunities for children and adults to learn the significance of the State’s natural resources.

The program may provide up to 100% financial assistance for various conservation practices including tree planting, prairie grass planting, slough excavation, shallow water impoundments, riparian fencing, outdoor classrooms, and virtually any other practice improving habitat to Federal trust species. Biologists also provide information on all available conservation programs which other agencies offer that may help private landowners obtain their land management goals.

Learn more about the Southeast region’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a minimum or maximum size that my land must be to do a Partners for Fish and Wildlife project?

No. Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects in Louisiana have been completed on areas as small as one acre and as large as 2,000 acres. Although projects that focus on a particular rare species have been done on very small parcels, Partners for Fish and Wildlife does not typically address “backyard wildlife” type projects with financial assistance. For small backyard projects, biologists may provide limited technical assistance such as pollinator and nest box information.

Is the focus of the program only habitat restoration and enhancement?

No. Funds for the program may occasionally be used for educational materials and outdoor classrooms that emphasize conservation of federal trust resources.

How do I apply to the program?

Notify the Partners for Fish and Wildlife contact closest to where you live to discuss your project. A Service representative will likely visit your property and discuss program objectives with you, and will be available for technical assistance should you want to restore fish and wildlife habitat on your land. If you would like to receive funding assistance from the program, the Service representative will assist you in preparing an application. Partners for Fish and Wildlife funds are limited. Therefore, your project must compete with other projects submitted to the program.

Will the public have any right to access my property if I am a program participant?

No. You will maintain your property in private ownership. Although agreements with the Service will include a provision to allow Service representatives to access your property to evaluate the habitat restoration, all visits are coordinated with the landowner.

Why should I participate in the program?

Over two-thirds of U.S. land and three-quarters of U.S. wetlands are privately owned. Many species depend on these private lands for survival. Without public support for restoring and enhancing these habitats, many more species may become imperiled. Conservation projects which benefit most federal trust resources also improve habitat for fish and game species of interest to landowners. Your action to conserve important habitat will also preserve our natural heritage for future generations.

Partners for Fish and Wildlife program resources

Landowner Assistance Programs

In addition to the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, several other programs are available in Louisiana to assist landowners with habitat restoration.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, this program helps farmers and ranchers who face serious threats to soil, water, and related natural resources. For incentive payments and cost share, 5-10-year contracts are required. Only applies to focus areas. For more information visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/

Wetland Reserve Program (WRP)

Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, this program restores former wetlands. For a 30-year easement, it pays 75% of restoration cost and annual payments. For a permanent easement, pays 100% of the restoration cost and lump sum payment or annual payments. See details at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service this program is designed to reverse decline of farmland-associated wildlife species by helping landowners with wildlife habitat improvements. Cost share and habitat planning assistance are available. See website for details: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip/.

What next?

Landowners can contact the Service’s Louisiana Ecological Services Field Office at 337-291-3100 to determine whether a contemplated activity is likely to require an incidental take permit and to begin the application process.

Contact

Andy Dolan, Louisiana Private Lands Coordinator
andrew_dolan@fws.gov, (337) 291-3119

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