|(Photo credit: HermannFalkner/sokol)|
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is now accepting applications for State Wildlife Grants (SWG), which are awarded to qualified private landowners to enhance wildlife habitat on their land. Since its inception, the SWG Private Landowner Program has funded more than $1.4 million to complete 60 private land habitat projects. Projects include removing invasive woody plants from native mixed-grass prairie, constructing alternate watering facilities to help with native short-grass prairie management, conversion of cool season grass to native grass and forbs, and construction of perimeter fencing on expiring CRP fields to help maintain those fields in native grass. These projects will improve more than 20,346 acres of habitat that will benefit wildlife considered Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCG) in Kansas.
In the past, KDWPT received $586,000 of SWG funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to aid in the protection and management of priority habitats for SGCG in Kansas. In June 2012, the department received an additional $205,000 in SWG funds to further continue this private landowner habitat conservation work.
To be eligible, applications must address issues and strategies identified in the Kansas Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan. Applications will be scored based on established criteria to ensure all applicants are considered fairly and that the highest-ranking projects are selected. Proposals with potential to score highest will specifically address restoration and enhancement activities that will contribute to 1) development or maintenance of large grassland blocks capable of supporting area-sensitive wildlife species; 2) restoration or maintenance of areas supporting high densities of playa lakes surrounded by grasslands; and 3) restoration or enhancement of streams and associated riparian buffers.
Applications are being accepted immediately with a deadline of Oct. 1. Those landowners receiving funding will be required to match a minimum of 25 percent of total project costs. This match can either be a cash contribution from a non-federal source or contributions of labor, materials, or equipment use. Applications will be accepted until available funds have been committed.
Interested landowners should contact any KDWPT regional office or a private lands biologist for application materials or to schedule a consultation concerning a proposed project. Questions regarding program administration can be addressed to Roger Wolfe, KDWPT Region 2 Office, 300 SW Wanamaker Road, Topeka, Kansas 66606; phone 785-271-7388. Persons with special communication needs may use the Kansas Relay Center, 1-800-766-3777.