INDIANAPOLIS — Curtis Knueven, acting state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana, has announced that applications are being accepted to improve wildlife and pollinator habitat throughout the state. While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by Dec. 8 to be considered for the current funding period. Applications received after Dec. 8 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle.
Dollars are available for farmers through the Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds Initiative (GGS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The GGS covers 40 counties throughout Indiana and will address inadequate terrestrial wildlife habitat by developing grassland and pollinator habitat.
The primary goal of the initiative is to develop and manage grassland and pollinator habitat needed by “at risk” bird species. This initiative is the continuation of an existing program first launched in 2018. The initiative will focus on regions located strategically throughout Indiana that contain both the greatest need for grassland habitats as well as the most potential to improve grassland habitats and populations of bird species that depend upon them. The GGS will target development of 1,500 acres of grassland habitat on private lands through land management contracts while partner contributions will focus on the development of an additional 1,620 acres of grassland habitat throughout the focal regions. The initiative will emphasize positive outcomes towards grassland bird indicator species such as the Henslow’s Sparrows, Loggerhead Shrikes, Northern Bobwhite Quail, and Ring-necked Pheasants.
RCPP is a partner-led program, with NRCS directing technical and financial assistance to priorities identified by partners. Led by Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife, additional partners involved in the Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds Initiative include the Sam Shine Foundation, Indiana Audubon Society, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Indiana Wildlife Federation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
“By leveraging collective resources and collaborating on common goals, RCPP demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering results for agriculture and conservation,” Knueven said. “The group found great success during the first phase of this project and has committed to investing additional time and financial resources to continue making a lasting positive impact.”
While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, all applications for this round of funding consideration must be received by Dec. 8, 2023.
To learn more about RCPP in Indiana, visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov/Indiana/RCPP.
For more information about NRCS and other technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your District Conservationist by visiting www.Farmers.gov/service-locator.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service