The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for Environmental Quality Incentives Program Grassland Bird Initiatives at the local USDA Service Center or conservation district office. The program helps pay for improvements that benefit wildlife.
These initiatives were developed to enhance wildlife habitat on production lands in focal areas where potential needs have been identified. The program emphasizes creating and improving habitat for grassland nesting songbirds, and restoring grass and shrub habitat to reverse the downward trend of the northern bobwhite quail.
Program goals also include improving grazing operations by converting KY 31 tall fescue to native warm season grasses, improving habitat for amphibian and bat species by restoring ephemeral pools to the landscape, and improving water quality, riparian and aquatic habitats by excluding livestock from streams.
Land users may apply for EQIP at any time. The program has three focus areas.
The EQIP Big Barrens focus area includes LaRue County.
Wildlife conservation practices include converting introduced grasses such as fescue to native warm season grasses for pastures and hay; permanent fence to exclude livestock from streams, woods, wetlands, buffers, karst basins; and wildlife lands which includes livestock watering facilities such as pipeline and tanks, spring development and stream crossings when the fencing excludes livestock from their water source with a required setback that will be enhanced for wildlife habitat.
Forest Stand Improvement is also an eligible practice in woodlands. Practices for wildlife habitat such as native warm season grasses for cover, ephemeral pools and tree and shrub planting are also available in this focus area.
For more information, visit the Internet at www.ky.nrcs.usda.gov/programs. To apply for EQIP, or for more information, contact USDA-NRCS at 358-3132 or call the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at 1-800-858-1549 and ask for the name and telephone number of your local private lands biologist.