Working with Private Landowners to Improve Conservation

We’ve had another great afternoon at the NWTF Conservation Conference at this year’s 42nd annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tennessee. A big takeaway from today is the importance of partnerships.

In conservation, partnerships are critical. We need to work together to truly make an impact in preserving and rebuilding habitats and keeping wildlife from becoming threatened, endangered or extinct. It’s a tall order, and one in which we take great pride and responsibility.

The NWTF works with so many partners every day and in every state across the U.S. We collaborate with other nongovernmental organizations, businesses, universities and local, state and federal government agencies and individuals. Through these partnerships we are able to share and pool resources – not only financial, but knowledge and manpower as well.

Friday’s sessions provided a glimpse into how NWTF partnerships are working to restore habitat and bolster wild turkey populations, while benefiting other wildlife.

Gene Miller, an NWTF wildlife biologist with 40 years’ experience, discussed the Oaks & Prairies Joint Venture and Grassland Restoration Incentive Program. The program is set up to incentivize landowners to put best practices on the ground to help stop the sharp decline of the northern bobwhite and scissor-tailed flycatcher. These two wildlife species have declined by 70 to 95 percent since 1996.

This partnership includes NWTF, NRCS, Audubon Society, Texas Park & Wildlife, ConocoPhillips and the Monarch Conservation Grant, among others. Between 2014 and 2017, the partnership managed 100 projects spanning over 61,000 acres and provided $1 million in incentives to landowners. The next evolution of the partnership will look to invest $2.9 million over five years in Oklahoma and Texas.

Why is this a good partnership for NWTF? We had already been working in the areas in Texas and Oklahoma where this project is needed. We have the knowledge and have helped with funding through grants.

Conservation is and will always be a collaboration of many. It’s essential to get the job done.