Wednesday, June 1, 2022

USDA Commits to Big Game Conservation

New USDA-NRCS partnership with Wyoming will focus on conserving big game migratory habitat on private lands.

On Friday May 20, USDA announced a new partnership that uses diverse Farm Bill investments to support voluntary conservation of private working lands and migratory big game populations in Wyoming. Using lessons learned from this pilot, USDA seeks to scale up this model across the West as part of President Biden’s commitment to support voluntary, locally-led conservation efforts to reach the administration’s national conservation goals.

USDA participated in extensive engagement and listening sessions with stakeholders throughout Wyoming and developed this pilot in response to their feedback. Those listening sessions helped guide the pilot’s concepts and principles: recognition of the large scale of this issue in key landscapes, coordination with state agencies, consistency with state policy and direction and support of existing partnerships wherever possible.

The pilot will take a systems approach to voluntary conservation and draw on several USDA programs, including the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (Grassland CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) to provide financial and technical assistance for landowners who want to participate.

USDA is committing an initial $15 million in investment through EQIP and ACEP for Wyoming, in addition to the rental payments that will go to producers who enroll in Grasslands CRP.