HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania farmers and forest landowners can now sign up for assistance to protect and restore habitats for the federally threatened bog turtle and endangered golden-winged warbler through the Working Lands for Wildlife partnership.
This new partnership links the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In return for voluntarily making habitat improvements on their lands, the federal government will provide landowners with regulatory certainty that they will not be asked to take additional conservation actions.
In addition, NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will jointly prepare species recovery tools such as informal agreements, safe harbor agreements and habitat conservation plans to provide regulatory certainty to landowners.
Applications within priority Bog Turtle and Golden-Winged Warbler habitat areas will receive highest consideration in Pennsylvania. (This map shows the bog turtle habitat in all the federally eligible states in the Northeast.)
Interested producers and landowners in targeted areas can enroll in the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) on a continuous basis at their local NRCS field office. NRCS funds from WHIP will share the cost of conservation practices with landowners in areas known to support one or more of the selected species.
Examples of conservation practices that improve Bog Turtle and Golden-Winged Warbler habitat include wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, brush management, and fencing.