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Grassland Incentives Target Bird Protection

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced a new round of grants for the Grasslands Protection Program, that allows landowners to protect the habitat of rare and threatened species.

The New York State DEC Landowner Incentive Program for Grassland Protection and Management provides grants to private property owners with grassland habitat to support at-risk species. A per-acre financial incentive is awarded in exchange for a five-year land management contract. DEC spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach says the current funding focuses on protecting rare and threatened birds.

Audubon NY has been working with the DEC. Director of Conservation and Science Mike Burger notes there are a number of birds that nest on the ground, in grassy fields, and without grasslands, they won’t breed.

Burger says the program targets private landowners willing to implement a management plan in exchange for the incentive payment.

The Landowner Protection Program is subdivided into three programs to manage at-risk species. The current manages grassland bird habitat.  A second program protects bog turtles and a third focuses on Indiana bat hibernacula. Hudsonia Ltd. is working with the DEC and the Landowner Incentive Program to protect bog turtle wetland habitat.  Executive Director Erik Kiviat.
The New York State DEC says about 2,295 acres of grassland have been are enrolled in the Incentive Program and they hope to significantly increase the acreage during this current round of applications, which must be submitted by January 15th.