Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, June 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) program. Since 2010, more than 8,400 producers in 48 states have teamed up under WLFW to conserve and enhance nearly 12 million acres of working agricultural lands. These efforts have provided substantial benefits for wildlife including sage grouse, monarch butterflies, American black ducks, and many more sensitive wildlife species.
WLFW expansion includes close alignment of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA), centered around WLFW Frameworks for Conservation Action. These frameworks are biome-level conservation strategies rooted in the latest science and best practices. Their research and conservation tools are used to align stakeholders and prioritize conservation actions to achieve landscape scale objectives and benefit both people and wildlife.
Successful implementation of these frameworks relies on the locally-led conservation delivery system, which engages landowners and operators to identify the most appropriate set of conservation actions on their lands. NACD applauds USDA’s commitment to working lands conservation, which includes:
- $500 million over 5 years to support landscape scale restoration via NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
- Increased collaboration with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which provides for greater alignment with the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
- Capacity building across the partnership to ensure there are sufficient resources to successfully develop and implement ecologically appropriate frameworks in key biomes across the country. These include existing frameworks for the: Great Plains Grasslands Biome, Sagebrush Biome, and Northern Bobwhite, Grasslands, and Savannas. Four new frameworks will also be developed: Western Migratory Big Game, Eastern Deciduous Forest, Eastern Aquatic Connectivity, and Southeastern Pine Ecosystems.
“NACD is pleased that NRCS is expanding WLFW frameworks for conservation action and dedicating resources over the next five years,” said NACD President Kim LaFleur. “This strategy will provide producers and land stewards in critical biomes across the country the opportunity to voluntarily implement conservation that enhances wildlife habitats. NACD and conservation districts look forward to working closely with USDA and other partners to advance landscape scale conservation.”
Conservation districts, land operators, and partners can learn more about participating in the WLFW program by visiting the program’s webpage and talking with their local NRCS staff.
About the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the nonprofit organization that represents the nearly 3,000 conservation districts across the United States, their state and territory associations, and the 17,000 individuals who serve on their governing boards. For more than 75 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit www.nacdnet.org.