West Virginia Field Office
Northeast Region
Partners: Frequently Asked Questions More Information


What is the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program?

The Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners Program) is a voluntary program that provides technical assistance and cost-share incentives to private landowners to restore fish and wildlife habitat.

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How can a landowner become a partner?

Any privately owned land is eligible for enrollment in the Partners Program. "Privately owned" includes any land that is not owned by state or federal government. Other participants in the Partners Program can include national, regional, state, county and local agencies, communities, non-profit organizations, corporations and educational institutions. These partners share funding and expertise with the Partners Program.

Existing partners include:

  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDA Farm Service Agency
  • Trout Unlimited
  • West Virginia Conservation Agency
  • West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
  • West Virginia Division of Highways
  • The Nature Conservancy (WV)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Park Service
  • Private Landowners

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How do I enroll?

Contact the Service's West Virginia Field Office Partners for Fish and Wildlife State Coordinator.

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What type of lands and waters are eligible to be restored?

Any private land that is potential wildlife habitat and has been altered or degraded is eligible for enrollment.

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Do landowners have to allow public access to their lands if they participate in the program?

No. Landowners retain all access rights to the property. Service employees may occasionally receive access from the private landowner for project monitoring.

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What is a landowner agreement?

Before a project is implemented, the landowner must sign an agreement with the Service that protects the federal investment made with public funds. Each agreement must be for a minimum of 10 years. An agreement states that a landowner will not return the project to its former state or damage/destroy the project during the agreement period without reimbursing the Service. Find the Private Lands Agreement Form here.

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How is financial assistance provided?

The Service and project partners provide financial assistance to private landowners for habitat restoration projects. The amount of cost-share may vary by project, depending on the partners involved and the type of project. Landowners may help with project construction and be reimbursed directly for their expenses. The Service may hire a contractor, or Service biologists may complete the project themselves.

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When will restoration activities be done?

The project will be completed as soon as possible. However, many factors can affect project completion date, including weather, funding and priority among other projects.

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Where does the Partners Program focus its efforts?

The program focuses in areas that will have the most impact on trust resources (migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, anadromous fish) and complement national wildlife refuges. The presence of other permanently-protected lands or lands identified as priority lands may also be considered.

The Partners Program has identified several hydrologic units in West Virginia and separated them into focus areas within the state. The program will focus their efforts in these areas, but may also do occasional projects outside the focus areas.

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Who is responsible for project maintenance?

Many habitat restoration projects will not require any maintenance. However, if maintenance is required, it is typically the responsibility of the landowner. Any repairs that are required due to design or construction failure will be the responsibility of the Service.

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Last updated: October 2, 2020