Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office
Southwest Region

Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program

"I really appreciate the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. I could not have accomplished these goals without the assistance of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thank you so very much." --Chuck Hatch, South-central Oklahoma cattle rancher

Logo of the Partners for Fish & Wildlife ProgramIn 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFW) was initiated in Oklahoma. The Partners Program provides technical and financial assistance for restoration and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat on private lands, in partnership with other state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations. The Partners program has grown in size, scope and success since 1990. We have enrolled 970 private landowners, tribes, public schools, state agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and other cooperators into wildlife habitat enhancement, restoration and establishment activities. These activities have improved over 301,000 wildlife habitat acres state wide, which includes 22,406 wetland acres (see map).

Ninety-five percent of the land in Oklahoma is privately owned. The landowner-friendly Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is the ideal program to enhance and restore Oklahoma's diverse fish and wildlife habitat on private lands. Native grassland restoration, controlling invasive plant species such as eastern red cedar and salt cedar, wetland restoration, and stream and cave restoration are all examples of Partner for Fish and Wildlife Projects. A total of 948 projects have been successfully implemented with private landowners across the state of Oklahoma.

Image of wetland, before and after creation

Mechanical techniques (see example) and prescribed burning is used to control Eastern red cedar and salt cedar that have increased dramatically in native ecosystems across Oklahoma. The invasion of eastern redcedar into native plant communities changes habitat structure and composition which adversely affects native wildlife. Many bird species, such as prairie chickens, bobwhite quail and the endangered black-capped vireo have been negatively affected by this invasion.

"…the Partners Program is one government program that truly benefits all. Children are our future and environmental studies for children are disappearing. Approximately 2 percent of our children now have an opportunity to work in an outdoor classroom or learn about the environment compared to the early 1900's almost all children had an opportunity to work the land or understand wildlife, so we're asking, please help us to continue to explore and understand their environment." Debbie Straughn, Principal, Deer Creek Elementary School, Statement given at legislative field hearing

Since 1993, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has developed Outdoor Conservation Classroom projects (see example) throughout Oklahoma. Currently 132 Outdoor Conservation Classrooms, with an emphasis on wetlands and other important ecosystems, have been completed or are under development in Oklahoma (see map). These sites provide a great opportunity to help connect children and adults to nature. To successfully educate young people on these resource issues, a "hands on," proactive and interactive Outdoor Classroom provides the ideal structured environment for learning. These projects simultaneously provide long-term educational opportunity, quality fish and wildlife habitat, and help to promote conservation of our Nation's natural resources. The Partners Program provides up to $7,000 per Outdoor Classroom project which is used to leverage funds from many other sources.

Technical and Financial Assistance for:

  • Wetland Restoration
  • Stream Restoration
  • Outdoor Classrooms
  • Invasive Species Control
  • Native Habitat Restoration
  • Endangered Species
  • Riparian Habitat Enhancement

To contact us, please call:

Oklahoma's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
9014 East 21st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74129
918-581-7467 (fax)

Additional images below. Click on any of them to see a larger version.

Thumbnail image of young children in front of an outdoor classroom sign Thumbnail image of native grassland after restoration Thumbnail image of outdoor classroom Thumbnail image of biologist at outdoor classroom Thumbnail image of biologists and landowner

Additional Links

National Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program

Last updated: July 11, 2016
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.