From ranchers in the West to forest managers in the East, private landowners are voluntarily conserving habitat for wildlife, helping species rebound and recover. These successes—including the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative’s work conserving grassland habitat in the southern Great Plains—are the focus of the new Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) magazine.
WLFW is a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partnership initiative that targets species whose decline can be reversed and benefits other species with similar habitat needs. Species include the lesser prairie-chicken, New England cottontail, Southwestern willow flycatcher, greater sage-grouse, gopher tortoise, bog turtle and golden-winged warbler.
Private lands are essential for providing habitat for nearly two-thirds of all species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through WLFW, NRCS works with conservation partners and private landowners to restore populations of declining wildlife species, provide regulatory certainty and strengthen and sustain rural economies. The nation’s landowners—farmers, ranchers and forest managers—provide not only food and fiber for the world but also include a variety of environmental benefits, including habitat for wildlife.
WLFW uses a voluntary, innovative approach to benefit high-priority habitat for seven species of wildlife that are declining, candidates for listing or listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). WLFW works with agricultural producers to create and improve wildlife habitat with regulatory predictability from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.