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A biologist in a bog. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

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.

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
  • Farmers
  • Ranchers
  • Recreational landowners
  • Corporations
  • County governments
  • Local governments
  • Universities

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

A small brown bird with yellow markings over it's eyes in a biologist's hand with scrub in the background.
The endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow has benefitted greatly from the efforts of private landowners. Photo by Mary Peterson, USFWS.

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

  1. Contact your State Coordinator to initiate the process and set up a site visit.
  2. 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.
  3. 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


Eric Spadgenske
1208-B Main St.
Daphne, AL 36526
Phone: (251) 441-5872
Fax: (251) 441-6222


Joe Krystofik
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

Ivan Llerandi-Roman
P.O. Box 491
Boqueron, PR 00622-0491
Phone: (787) 851-7297, Ext. 224
Fax: (787) 851-7440


Joseph Prenger
7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200 Jacksonville, FL 32256-7517 Phone: (904) 731-3096 Fax: (904) 731-3045


Robert Brooks
4980 Wildlife Drive, NE
Townsend, GA 31331
Phone: (912) 832-8739, ext 4
Fax: (912) 832-8744


J. Brent Harrel
330 West Broadway, J. C. Watts Federal Bldg., RM 265
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502) 695-0468, ext 104
Fax: (502) 695-1024


Andrew Dolan
646 Cajundome Blvd., Suite 400
Lafayette, LA 70506
Phone: (337) 291-3119
Fax: (337) 291-3139


Jeffrey Lee
6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A
Jackson, MS 39213
Phone: (601) 321-1138
Fax: (601) 965-4340

North Carolina

John Ann Shearer
551-F Pylon Drive
P.O. Box 33726
Raleigh, NC 27636-3726
Phone: (919) 856-4520, ext 17
Fax: (919) 856-4556

South Carolina

Joe Cockrell
176 Croghan Spur Road, Suite 200
Charleston, SC 29407
Phone: (843) 300-0425
Fax: (843) 727-4218


Timothy Watkins
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:

Nicole Adimey
Division of Restoration and Recovery U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1875 Century Boulevard Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (404) 679-7138

Restoration work

Before image of restoration project showing a mowed field. After image of restoration project showing a meadow with flowering milkweed plants

Swipe the white divider to the left/right to compare before and after images.

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.

Contact Us:

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