USDA Announces Historic Investment in Wildlife Conservation

Dan Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE), Conservation, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environment, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), USDA-NRCS, Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW)

wildlife conservation

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will expand its work on wildlife conservation by investing at least $500 million over the next five years. This includes leveraging all available conservation programs through both the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA).

These commitments will ramp up the conservation assistance for farmers, ranchers, private forest owners and tribes with a focus on working lands in key geographies across the country as well as hiring for key conservation positions.

The new funding includes $250 million from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and $250 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).? NRCS will coordinate this work through their Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), which focuses on voluntary, locally-led efforts that benefit wildlife and agricultural communities. ?


USDA notes they are committed to investing a range of resources to implement WLFW Frameworks, including traditional Farm Bill and newly available funds from the Inflation Reduction Act. The Frameworks are an important part of NRCS’s work to implement the Inflation Reduction Act, as wildlife habitat conservation in forests, grasslands and sagebrush can also provide important carbon storage opportunities and climate-mitigation benefits. These dedicated funds will be invested alongside other USDA resources like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and leveraged by hundreds of conservation partners across the country.

USDA will also work with partners on the ground to develop new frameworks to be released in 2024-25. This includes:

  • Eastern Deciduous Forest: A strategy to achieve forest health and habitat restoration that benefits declining wildlife dependent on young forests.??
  • Eastern Aquatic Connectivity: A strategy to guide restoration of rivers and wetlands to support habitat connectivity in watersheds with significant at-risk species.?
  • Southeastern Pine Ecosystems: A strategy to establish and maintain native pines with cultural, ecological and economic value.?