Program provides technical assistance and financial incentives
to enhance wildlife habitat on private land in central and western Kansas

Applications for participation in the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) will be accepted from March 15 to Sept. 1. This year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks has received $500,000 in funding for LIP from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to aid in the protection and management of high-priority wildlife habitats, including streams and associated riparian areas, playa lakes, and grasslands.

This voluntary program will enable private landowners to receive technical guidance and financial incentives to benefit at-risk species identified in the Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. High-priority species include lesser prairie chicken, black-tailed prairie dog, ferruginous hawk, northern pintail, American avocet, black tern, Cassin’s sparrow, whooping crane, green toad, flathead chub, Arkansas darter, and Topeka shiner. Some examples of potential projects to enhance habitat include restoring native vegetation, brush and invasive weed management, and restoring playa hydrology.

To effectively allocate funding, KDWP will limit participation to privately-owned (non-governmental) land within the mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie regions west of the Flint Hills. Within this area, special consideration will be given to projects in the Red Hills, Cimarron River Sandsage, Arkansas River Sandsage, Smoky Hills, and Playa Lakes areas.

Proposed projects must contribute to the enhancement of at least one high-priority species or its habitat. Landowners also must agree to allow KDWP biologists access to project lands, and the FWS requires that landowners contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the total project cost. This match can either be a cash contribution from a non-federal source or in-kind contributions of labor, materials, and equipment use. A committee of specialists will review completed applications based on established rating criteria to ensure that all applicants are considered fairly and that the best projects are chosen.

Landowners interested in participating should contact LIP project coordinator Chris Berens at 785-462-3367, LIP program coordinator Murray Laubhan at 620-672-5911, or the nearest KDWP district biologist.