Special to the Journal
ATHENS, GA, - State Conservationist James E. Tillman Sr., of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), announced today that financial assistance of $4.5 million was approved under the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) to help sustain breeding populations of the gopher tortoise and golden-winged warbler through the Working Lands For Wildlife (WLFW) Initiative.
WLFW is a partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to use innovative approaches to restore and protect the habitats for an at-risk specie – the gopher tortoise, and other vulnerable game species.
This initiative will assist private landowners in the creation and maintenance of habitat necessary to sustain breeding populations of gopher tortoise in their current range. It focuses on the creation, management and maintenance of pine savanna habitat. For the golden-winged warbler, the program will assist with the maintenance of habitat necessary to sustain breeding populations in their current range. It focuses on the creation, management and maintenance of early successional habitat in close association with forested landscapes.
Interested producers and landowners in focal areas can enroll in the WHIP on a continuous basis at their local NRCS field office. To be considered for this sign-up, an application must be received by March 15. NRCS funds from WHIP will share the cost of conservation practices with landowners in areas known to support the gopher tortoise and golden-winged warbler.
For more information about WHIP and other NRCS conservation programs, visit the Georgia NRCS Web site at www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov, or contact your local NRCS office.