For Private Landowners: The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
The Southeast Region Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in improving habitat for migratory birds, endangered, threatened and at-risk species while maintaining the their primary land management goals. This is a voluntary program in which landowners continue to manage their land for their objectives as well as for wildlife, which most of the time go-hand-in-hand.
The future of healthy fish and wildlife populations in the Southeast is in the hands of private landowners, who own more than 90% of the region’s land. Many of our projects are in working landscapes such as forests, farms, and ranches, where our goal is to improve wildlife habitat while keeping those lands working. We concentrate our efforts in focus areas of conservation concern, such as imperiled habitats like longleaf pine, bottomland hardwoods, tropical forests, native prairies, marshes, rivers and streams.
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
For private landowners
Partnerships run deep
Reclaiming a dump
Monarchs on the ranch
Livingston Dam: A restoration story
A boost in the Barrens
Teeing up conservation
Aid in the shade
One project, many outcomes
Woven from the Landscape
Longleaf pine for Georgians
What we do
Our locally-based field biologists provide personalized attention and work one-on-one with private landowners to:
- Plan, implement, and monitor their projects,
- Identify other partners to participate in projects,
- Identify sources of funding, and
- Provide guidance through the permitting process, as necessary.
Between 2009 to 2015, the Partners Program in the Southeast has restored or enhanced:
- 43,000 acres of wetland habitat,
- 191,000 acres of upland habitat, and
- 368 miles of stream habitat, through
- 2,437 projects.
In addition, the program leveraged an investment of $12.5 million with partner contributions of $57 million.
Download our 2012-2016 Strategic Plan.
Who is eligible
All private landowners interested in restoring wildlife habitat on their land are eligible to participate. Some of our current landowners are
- Forest landowners
- Recreational landowners
- County governments
- Local governments
Although landowners are our most important “partners,” we also work with other federal agencies, state agencies, and NGOs to complete projects on private lands. None of our work happens without partnerships!
Types of projects
We place particular emphasis on projects with the potential to provide habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species; migratory birds and fish; and species at-risk of requiring Endangered Species Act protection.
Project work may include:
- Livestock exclusion fencing/alternate water supply construction,
- Streambank stabilization,
- Restoration of in-stream aquatic habitats,
- Longleaf or shortleaf pine planting
- Forest enhancement through midstory management or prescribed burning,
- Native grass and forb planting
- Wetland restoration/enhancement,
- Riparian reforestation, and more.
The landowner’s role
All participation in the Partners Program is voluntary. If a project proceeds, landowners sign an agreement anywhere from 10 to 30 years committing to maintaining the goals of the project. Landowners also contribute to the cost of the project, which can be in the form of a financial commitment but can also come in the form of labor, use of equipment, or other services. We also strive to incorporate cost share from any number of other partners.
How to get started
- Contact your State Coordinator to initiate the process and set up a site visit.
- A biologist will set up an appointment to meet with you and determine what tools will best fit your needs. If a project proceeds, you will work one-on-one with a local Service biologist to develop a project plan that addresses your goals and objectives, and benefits the wildlife and plant species on your land.
- To implement a project, a cooperative agreement with a minimum duration of 10 years is signed. You will be reimbursed after project completion, based on the cost-sharing formula in your agreement.
State coordinator contacts
110 South Amity, Suite 300
Conway, AR 72032
Phone: (501) 513-4479
Fax: (501) 513-4480
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
P.O. Box 491
Boqueron, PR 00622-0491
Phone: (787) 851-7297, Ext. 224
Fax: (787) 851-7440
7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200 Jacksonville, FL 32256-7517 Phone: (904) 731-3096 Fax: (904) 731-3045
446 Neal Street
Cookeville, TN 38501
Phone: (931) 528-6481
Fax: (931) 528-7075
For Additional Information
Contact our Regional Coordinator for the Partners Program:
Division of Restoration and Recovery U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1875 Century Boulevard Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (404) 679-7138
This 65-acre project is on private land outside of Hope, Arkansas and in the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program’s Blackland Prairie focus area. The landowner bought the land to enjoy the outdoors, and was referred to the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program. A partnership then developed between PFW, which paid for the native seed mix, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which donated herbicide, and the landowner, who hired a contractor to apply herbicide in the spring and fall.
A site visit in May 2015, the first spring after removing the fescue, documented hundreds to thousands of milkweed plants of at least two species that were present in the seedbank. The PFW Biologist also transplanted butterfly milkweed to supplement the native seeds planted. This project will provide habitat for the monarch butterfly, northern bobwhite, indigo bunting, loggerhead shrike and several other songbird and small game species. The project also shares a border with a state wildlife area, providing one large contiguous block of habitat.
Prescribed fire in coastal ecosystems
Flagler County Florida owns and manages a diverse assortment of natural communities ranging from sandhill, through salt marsh and coastal slough, to beach dunes. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program is working with the Flagler County Land Management Department to restore about 228 acres of sandhill and longleaf flatwoods communities. The major effort of this restoration will be to foster a diverse, native groundcover through the reduction of hardwood and pine stem density in select stands. Pine will be thinned or removed from existing ephemeral wetlands as well, potentially benefiting the striped newt, a candidate species. Planned efforts include mulching and mowing of lower canopy and midstory hardwoods and herbicide treatment of select larger hardwoods while leaving in place native pyrogenic species such as turkey oak, wiregrass, and other sandhill appropriate species. A controlled burn will follow to clear duff and debris and to provide conditions for the natural spread of native groundcover.