EQIP funding will help improve upland bird habitat

Ring-necked pheasants
Ring-necked pheasants were the most popular game species in Ohio in the 1960s, when their numbers were believed to be between 4 and 5 million. (Pheasants Forever photo)

COLUMBUS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced a statewide effort focused on creating and improving upland bird habitat in Ohio. Private landowners and producers can apply for funding through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Applications for EQIP are taken on a continuous basis, however, interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS service center prior to the anticipated Feb. 16 sign-up deadline for fiscal year 2024 funding.

With upland bird populations declining, diverse quality habitats are critical, making private landowner actions key in creating and maintaining complex habitat requirements to help the birds thrive. Habitat types including woody edges, native grass field borders and shrubby cover provide nesting, brood-rearing and loafing areas to bolster upland bird populations.

With the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, landowners can place multiple conservation practices on the landscape to address these needs. National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasant Forever and Quails Forever support the effort.

Landowners interested in EQIP funding to improve upland bird habitat should reach out to their local Ohio USDA service center or visit the Ohio NRCS EQIP webpage for more details.


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