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02/12/2013

NRCS Receives National Land Stewardship Award

For photo and interview requests, contact John Brasier at (803) 637-7667 or jbrasier@nwtf.net

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The NWTF honored the National Resources Conservation Service with the Land Stewardship Award Feb. 14 at the NWTF Convention and Sport Show.

The NRCS has worked in partnership with the NWTF in projects totaling more than $10 million in private and public funding in more than 30 states.

“The NRCS is one of our strongest partners,” said Donnie Buckland, NWTF private lands manager. “Through their support and the leverage of partnership funding we’ve been able to accomplish great things for the wild turkey and many other wildlife species on private lands.”

The NRCS, originally established as the Soil Conservation Service in 1935, now works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit soil, water, air, plants and animals, resulting in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. Such work is especially important, considering 70 percent of U.S. land is privately owned.

“Conservation on the land is critical to ensuring the health of our natural resources and the strength of our agricultural sector.  We are honored to receive this award from our partners at the National Wild Turkey Federation and we thank them for their leadership and commitment to conservation,” said NRCS Acting Chief Jason Weller.

The NWTF and NRCS have coordinated national outreach efforts designed to promote conservation programs and enhance wildlife habitat on private lands. Other cooperative programs have directly impacted and enhanced habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife species. Wild turkeys depend on a diversity of habitats, particularly early successional habitat for nesting and brooding cover.

Examples of these projects are the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) for the removal of invasive species in Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia; a Conservation Innovative Grant (CIG); multiple agreements for the re-establishment and maintenance of the longleaf pine ecosystems in seven Southeastern states; and a recent agreement to work with landowners in the Appalachian Mountain range to develop golden-winged warbler habitat.

The NWTF, a non-profit organization, is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation in North America. The NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and other wildlife species and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

Through vital partnerships with state, federal and provincial agencies, the NWTF has conserved 17.3 million acres of wildlife habitat, investing more than $412 million.

Since the NWTF was founded in 1973, the wild turkey population has increased from 1.3 million to almost 7 million and has been restored to 99 percent of suitable habitat. Wild turkeys are in the 48 continental U.S. states and Hawaii.

For information on the NWTF, go to www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.

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