Program provides technical assistance and financial incentives to enhance wildlife habitat on private land in central and western Kansas; March 31 deadline

PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has announced that applications for the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) will be accepted through March 31. KDWP has approximately $159,000 available in the LIP from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to help protect and manage priority habitats, including streams and associated riparian areas, playa lakes, and grasslands.

This voluntary program provides technical guidance and financial incentives to private landowners who wish to help at-risk species identified in the Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. 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 include restoring native vegetation, brush and invasive weed management, and restoring playa hydrology.

To effectively use the funding, KDWP will limit participation to privately-owned land within the mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie regions west of the Flint Hills. Special consideration will be given to projects in the Red Hills, Cimarron River Sandsage, Arkansas River Sandsage, Smoky Hills, and Playa Lakes regions. Proposed projects must benefit at least one priority species or its habitat to be eligible.

Landowners also must agree to allow authorized personnel access to project lands, and the FWS requires landowners to contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the 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 professionals will review completed applications based on established rating criteria so that all applicants are considered fairly and that the best projects are chosen.

Landowners interested in participating should write KDWP LIP Biologist, 512 SE 25th Ave, Pratt, Kansas 67124 or phone 620-672-0771. Persons with special communication needs may use the Kansas Relay Center, 1-800-766-3777.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance reference number is 15.633.