State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement enrollment open

By Laura Bies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently accepting proposals for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement initiative. Credit: USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently accepting proposals from conservation partners for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement initiative, a program focused on effectively restoring and managing wildlife habitat in alignment with state-established goals.

The SAFE initiative is part of the Conservation Reserve Program within the U.S. Farm Bill conservation title.

The USDA is currently encouraging government entities, nonprofits and other groups to submit proposals to enroll in SAFE and restore vital habitat in alignment with high priority state wildlife conservation goals. Once enrolled in the program, landowners receive financial assistance to plant grasses and trees, and establish wetlands that help create critical habitat and food sources to enhance important wildlife populations.

In recent years, the USDA has made several updates to the SAFE program, including making additional agricultural and land management practices available under the initiative. The new practices added last year to SAFE include managing for early successional habitat cover establishment or management and wildlife habitat planting.

Also new this year, the USDA will provide cost-share assistance to eligible landowners who want to re-enroll in CRP but need assistance with updating their vegetative cover to align with the standards for early successional habitat or wildlife planting.

Government entities, nonprofits and private organizations are all eligible to participate in SAFE and should submit proposals to their Farm Service Agency state office. Current participants must submit updated proposals to FSA state offices in June. Contact your state office for the state-specific deadline.

Established in the 1985 Farm Bill, the CRP is one of the largest voluntary private lands conservation programs in the United States. The program allows landowners to receive an annual payment in exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve environmental health and quality.

Read TWS’ Technical Review on Fish and Wildlife Response to Farm Bill Conservation Practices.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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