USDA & Wyoming Seek Private Land Conservation Partnerships

USDA & Wyoming Seek Private Land Conservation Partnerships

Written by on May 26, 2022

Private landowners in the Bighorn Basin have a chance to help with large-scale conservation projects for big game by improving habitat on their properties.

U.S.D.A.’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (N.R.C.S.) in Wyoming is currently accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Big Game Conservation. E.Q.I.P. is a voluntary Farm Bill program that provides financial assistance to address priority resource concerns. This sign-up addresses resource concerns about conserving wildlife and migration corridors and keeping working lands working.

U.S.D.A. Under Secretary Robert Bonnie announced the program during the University of Wyoming’s 150th Anniversary Symposium at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody.

“Conserving America’s most iconic wildlife and wildlife migration corridors depends on the conservation of private working lands and tribal lands through voluntary, collaborative incentives that reward farmers, ranchers, and forest owners for stewardship of their lands,” said Bonnie, U.S.D.A.’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Today’s announcement results from consultation with the State of Wyoming and local stakeholders to create new and enhanced opportunities through U.S.D.A.’s conservation programs to expand our work with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to conserve wildlife and migration corridors and to keep working lands working.”

Courtesy NPS & Jacob W. Frank

Producers interested in implementing conservation practices to conserve, restore, and enhance wildlife habitat important for migratory big game populations on their private lands have to submit applications until Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

The E.Q.I.P. Big Game Conservation sign-up provides benefits for Wyoming producers through incentivizing conservation practices.

  • Wildlife Friendly Fencing
  • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management
  • Brush Management
  • Fence Removal
  • Pest Management
  • Wet Meadow Restoration
  • Prescribed Grazing
  • Herbaceous Weed Treatment
  • Brush or Aspen treatments.

Supporting practices are not listed but may be included as needed to support terrestrial wildlife habitat projects.

The opportunity is available to all producers who own or manage private agricultural land within the State of Wyoming.

High Priority Areas include private land in Fremont, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park, Sublette, and Teton County.

U.S.D.A is targeting these counties in the Grassland C.R.P. program to enhance wildlife habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. They are all part of a pilot that allows producers to stack C.R.P. and E.Q.I.P. contracts, provided the producer will not receive cost-share payments for the same practice from both agencies on the same land.

Other priorities include private land located within state and Wyoming Game and Fish designated migration corridors.

These efforts have recently been expanded through the first biome-scale frameworks for wildlife conservation in the Great Plains grasslands, western sagebrush country, and the Central and Eastern grasslands and savannas within 25 states in the northern bobwhite range. This big game special project similarly strategically focuses Farm Bill resources to conserve working lands that benefit both wildlife and people.

If successful, this program will spread to other states to aid wildlife conservation across state, federal, and private land.

Producers must have farm records current with the Farm Service Agency (F.S.A.) They must also submit a complete program application to N.R.C.S. to be considered for financial assistance through E.Q.I.P.

If producers do not have up-to-date farm records with F.S.A., they have until Friday, June 24, 2022, to establish such records with their local F.S.A. office. Applications are accepted at all Wyoming N.R.C.S. offices located in U.S.D.A. Service Centers across the state.

Please visit the Wyoming E.Q.I.P. web page to find out more about E.Q.I.P. To locate an N.R.C.S. field office near you, please visit the Wyoming U.S.D.A. Service Center webpage.

When visiting with N.R.C.S. staff about the E.Q.I.P. Big Game Conservation sign-up, landowners are encouraged to inquire about N.R.C.S.’s comprehensive conservation plans. The Agency continually strives to put conservation planning at the forefront of its programs and initiatives.

Conservation plans provide landowners with an extensive inventory and assessment of their land and suggestions for improving the quality of soil, water, air, plants, and animals on their land.

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