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Many species of game birds and other wildlife are set to benefit from an expansion of land included in certain federal conservation in North Dakota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accepted an additional 25,000 acres of land into the conservation programs under the Conservation Reserve Program umbrella.

The program is set to target wetlands and other wildlife habitat areas in a bid to turn the tide on declining populations amongst numerous species.

10,000 acres of land is being devoted to State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE). This scheme pays landowners to make land idle so it can create natural wildlife habitat.

The new lands are part of a national allocation for wildlife and wetland conservation initiatives, under the general CRP. The national land being devoted is 800,000 acres. The general CRP program also pays landowners to idle property that is environmentally fragile.

“CRP protects water quality and restores significant habitat for ducks, pheasants, turkey, quail, deer and other important wildlife,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated last spring when he announced the overall effort. “That spurs economic development like hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism all over rural America.”

Previously more than 300,000 acres had been allocated for initiatives in the state. This land has provided a food source, cover and nesting sites for various game animals including pheasants and prairie chickens. Aaron Krauter, the state Director for the federal Farm Service Agency, hopes that the additional 25,000 acres will continue the progress that has already been made.

Additionally, the state’s FSA office is asking for another 95,000 acres for similar initiatives, during the 2016 fiscal year which begins in October. The office is also hoping that a partnership with the North Dakota Beekeepers Association and Pheasants Forever will bear fruit for 20,000 acres, for another initiative aimed at creating honeybee and pheasant habitat.

Are there any new habitat initiatives near you? What are you doing for conservation?

Let us know in the comments below.


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