Conservation Partners Project Underway in Southwest/South-central Florida

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A National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Conservation Partners Grant

The Conservation Partners Project (CPP), funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is underway in Florida. This innovative partnership between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Florida Conservation Group seeks to protect habitat on private lands and restore wetlands in Southwest and South-central Florida.

The project provides outreach, education and technical assistance to landowners who are smaller, disadvantaged and historically underserved. The work will focus on outreach and identification of priority properties, technical assistance with the easement process, and placing ecologically sensitive lands under a conservation easement with NRCS.

As this project continues to move forward the partners will engage landowners and offer technical assistance with NRCS ACEP easement programs, including:
• The Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE) under NRCS. This program purchases conservation easements on degraded or former wetlands in need of restoration.
• The partners Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) program. This partnership program is targeted to lands that protect agricultural use. Eligible partners for ALE include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs.

By placing ecologically sensitive lands under a conservation easement or agricultural land easement with NRCS, environmental and ecological goals can be met. Land can remain in private ownership, wetland restoration will be achieved and at-risk species such as the gopher tortoise, the Florida Panther and the Florida grasshopper-sparrow will be protected.

This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under grant number 2004.17.058692. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.” Any publication prepared with funding from this agreement must include acknowledgement to USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service.