The EGCPJV prioritized habitats for initial conservation focus by considering threats to priority bird species, the importance of each habitat to individual partner organizations, and the contribution of the East Gulf Coastal Plain to each habitatís total extent. This exercise resulted in three ecological communities and habitat types for initial attention, and they are listed in order of priority:
- Pine-dominated communities (with an emphasis on open longleaf pine uplands and savannas)
- Eastern Interior Grasslands (with an emphasis on native prairies and meadows)
- Freshwater Wetland Communities (with an emphasis on bottomland hardwood habitats)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Safe Harbor Program is designed to encourage conservation of federally listed species on private lands by providing regulatory assurances to private landowners in exchange for a net conservation benefit for the species. Once enrolled in the Safe Harbor Program, private landowners can manage their lands without fear of incurring any additional Endangered Species Act restrictions on land use or management.
The Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program restores, improves, and protects fish and wildlife habitat on private lands through alliances between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other organizations, and individuals, while leaving the land in private ownership. To contact someone in your state, please visit the Southeast contacts page.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service.
NRCS has a number of cost share programs that help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters:
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides a voluntary conservation program for farmers, ranchers and owners of private, non-industrial forest land that promotes agricultural production, forest management and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible producers install or implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, non-industrial private forest land, and Indian land. WHIP provides both technical assistance and up to 75 percent cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
The Healthy Forest Reserve Program assists landowners, on a voluntary basis, in restoring, enhancing and protecting forestland resources on private lands through easements, 30-year contracts and 10-year cost-share agreements. Its objectives are to promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, to improve plant and animal biodiversity, and to enhance carbon sequestration.
The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) is a voluntary conservation initiative that enables the use of certain conservation programs along with resource of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest lands.
The Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program that provides technical assistance and financial incentives to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal land from agriculture. Landowners that enter into WRP may be paid an easement payment in exchange for enrolling their land. Program emphasis in the region is on restoring wet cropland to bottomland hardwoods.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was developed to address soil erosion by planting farmed lands to resource-conserving vegetative covers, making the program a major contributor to increased wildlife populations in many parts of the country.
The Southern Company Longleaf Legacy Program is a partnership between the Southern Company and its four operating company affiliates (Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The purpose of this partnership is to provide grants for longleaf pine ecosystem reforestation and conservation within the Southern Company service area of Georgia, Alabama, northwestern Florida, and southeastern Mississippi.
Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (GCPEP) was formed in 1996 when public and private landowners and land management partners united with a goal of conserving and restoring longleaf pine ecosystems and unique aquatic resources of northwest Florida and southern Alabama. This effort, joining 10 major conservation entities and 1,052,000 acres of land and water, has stabilized endangered red-cockaded woodpecker populations, increased prescribed fire as a management tool, and restored thousands of acres of longleaf pine.
Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) is a partnership of state agencies, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies with a goal of promoting better collaboration in making resource-use decisions. SERPPAS works to prevent encroachment around military lands, encourage compatible resource-use decisions, and improve coordination among regions, states, communities, and military services in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.