Learn how NRCS has been scaling up the cooperative, science-based conservation model that’s working for sagebrush wildlife to focal landscapes across America.
The Sage Grouse Initiative was launched by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2010 as a new paradigm for conserving at-risk wildlife and America’s western rangelands. Through voluntary cooperation, incentives, and community support, SGI has enrolled over 1,500 ranchers in science-based practices that have conserved 5.6 million acres — an area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park!
And we’re not slowing down. As part of NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife, SGI will continue our commitment to working with private landowners on practices that benefit the bird and the herd. We’re on track to protect an estimated 8 million acres by 2018 -– an area seven times larger than the Great Salt Lake.
The same ingredients that make SGI a success are now providing wins for wildlife across the country — from birds and rabbits to turtles and fish. These ingredients for conservation success include: trust and credibility, shared vision, accountability, strategic approach, leverage, and regulatory predictability.
Through Working Lands for Wildlife, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers. Farm Bill funds help private landowners plan and implement conservation practices that benefit target species and priority landscapes. SGI is proud to be a part of this cooperative conservation model.
Three new videos focus on NRCS Working Lands For Wildlife initiatives that are helping imperiled wildlife rebound and recover. The videos are part of the seventh season of This American Land, a public TV show. Each of them features private landowners explaining how NRCS has helped them benefit their agricultural operations as well as focal species like bats, butterflies, bobwhites, and more. Check them out below!
Fire is an important management tool for healthy landscapes. Prescribed fire is used to manage forests and grasslands, making them more productive and resilient for agricultural producers while also benefiting a variety of wildlife, including northern bobwhite and gopher tortoise. NRCS helps landowners and groups use prescribed burning and other conservation practices on their land. Join us as we head to the Florida Panhandle to visit landowner Willie Earl Paramore and Tall Timbers Research Station.
The iconic monarch butterfly is one of the nation’s most familiar butterflies. But it’s declining because of the loss of habitat (especially milkweed, the only food of monarch caterpillars) and pesticides. The core of the monarch butterfly’s migration route through America is through the Corn Belt and southern Great Plains, where much of the nation’s food and fiber is grown or raised. Farmers and ranchers are making butterfly-friendly improvements to working lands by managing for healthy stands of milkweed and high-nectar plants.
Meet Tom and Wendy Belinda of Blair County, Pennsylvania and learn how they help improve habitat for the Indiana Bat. Many of our nation’s bats are facing population declines to near-extinction levels, primarily because of disease and loss of habitat. One of those species is the Indiana bat, an endangered species that has experienced rapid declines since the 1960s. Tom and Wendy worked with many groups, including NRCS, to improve the health of their forests, which benefits the value of their forest as well as the habitat for wildlife like bats.