NWTF initiatives herald the future of conservation and America’s Big Six success

Accomplishing conservation delivery on a scale necessary to turn the tide of diminishing wild turkey populations, growing dangers of catastrophic wildfire and other threats to our nation’s vital watersheds, forests, grasslands and communities is accomplished only through many partners coming together with a focus on a common goal. The NWTF created or joined national and regional initiatives and landscape-scale projects to achieve NWTF’s America’s Big Six of Wildlife Conservation goals to slow the loss of habitat and improve habitat diversity, forest health, pine management, water quality, winter wildlife survival, healthy hardwood forests and riparian areas and to restore oak woodlands, savannas and prairies.

These initiatives and projects are comprised of diverse stakeholders and channel efforts to increase pace, scale and efficacy of our combined conservation efforts across public and private lands. In the spirit of the USDA Forest Service's Shared Stewardship Strategy, calling all hands and all lands into the effort, these large-scale, multi-stakeholder, cross-boundary initiatives are the future of conservation delivery, and the NWTF is at the forefront in forging innovative partnerships and contributing where other partners are leading the way to better serve our nation’s vital water resources, forests, wildlife habitat, communities and recreational opportunities.

Listed here are current and emerging initiatives that are moving NWTF conservation efforts in a direction to increase pace and scale are setting the stage for future conservation delivery.

America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative

(AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX, VA)

America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative (ALRI) is a mirror of the NWTF’s America’s Southern Piney Woods focal region and represents a coalition of federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, forest industry, private landowners and other interests who have united in a single cause: to restore the iconic and ecologically important longleaf pine forest in the southeastern United States.

Restoring longleaf pine has brought together diverse partners with the resources and skills needed for success. For more information visit http://www.americaslongleaf.org/.

National Forestry Initiative

(AR, FL, IA, ID, IN, KY, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NC, NH, NY, OH, SC, TN, TX, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY)

The National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S.D.A.’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are working together to help improve forest health and forest ecosystems on private lands and manage the forestry-related workload derived from the Farm Bill. The NRCS and the NWTF have a longstanding partnership that is built upon promoting and implementing the conservation and wise use of land, water, wildlife and related resources across the United States.

As part of the National Forestry Initiative agreement, the NWTF is positioned to help improve forest health on about 350,000 acres of private land in a number regions throughout the country by providing cooperative staff of experienced forestry professionals to bolster NRCS staff in 24 states over a five-year period.

Working out of these regional NRCS offices in nearly all NWTF Big Six focal regions, 24 foresters and a project coordinator are collaborating with private landowners, state and federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations to deliver technical assistance for Farm Bill conservation programs on private land throughout the nation.

Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative

(MT, ND, SD, WY)

The Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative was developed by the NWTF to address the management of streamside habitat (riparian areas) and the conservation of these vital ecosystems. Through the establishment of cooperative partnerships, reliable funding sources and the implementation of management activities, NPRRI strives to assist both private landowners and public land-management agencies in the restoration and management of riparian habitat throughout the Northern Great Plains states of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Objectives include planting/restoration of native tree and shrub species, improved grazing regimes benefitting grasses and forbs, invasive plant species management, public education and scientific research to promote understanding and management of these critical ecosystems.

Since its inception in 2007, NPRRI has grown in popularity among land managers and has involved over 94 partners working to conserve about 78,800 acres at a cost of over $8.3 million dollars, helping to achieve the NWTF’s America’s Great Open Spaces focal region goal of improving access to clean water and to improve native prairie and forest habitats.

Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative



Co-convened by the NWTF and the USDA Forest Service, the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative’s goal is to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration in Colorado to reduce the risk of wildfire and to protect water sources and infrastructure, communities and recreational opportunities. In the heart of the NWTF’s America’s Western Wildlands focal region, it is a national pilot under the USDA's Shared Stewardship Strategy and includes a diverse community of 170 partners from 30 stakeholder from the public and private sector. Through this initiative, the NWTF is achieving its goals of reducing wildfire risk and improving water quality and abundance. Learn more at restoringtherockies.org.

Shortleaf Pine Initiative

(AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA)

In 2013, the Shortleaf Pine Initiative was formed to address the multiple threats facing the imperiled shortleaf pine ecosystem. Crossing the boundaries of several of the NWTF’s America’s Big Six focal regions, including America’s Southern Piney Woods, America’s Great Open Spaces, America’s Mid-South Rebirth, and America’s Colonial Forests, the partnership consists of a broad range of public and private organizations, as well as key state and federal agencies, with the common goal of restoring this once prolific ecosystem that is important to a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, elk, squirrels, wild turkeys and more. For more information visit shortleafpine.net.

Watershed Restoration Initiative


Watersheds are ribbons of life in the arid West and the home of the NWTF’s America’s Western Wildlands focal region. Watersheds support communities, wildlife, recreation, industry and agriculture. Millions of people depend on these vital water resources. From 2006 to 2020, the NWTF and its partners have funded and completed 219 projects across the state of Utah. The NWTF leverages Utah Conservation Permit Funds — earned by selling tags through the NWTF’s fundraising system — with other nongovernmental organization and partner dollars. Since WRI began, 2,275 projects have resulted in the treatment of nearly 2 million acres at a cost of nearly $280 million.

White Oak Initiative

(AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV)

The White Oak Initiative works to ensure the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak and the economic, social and conservation benefits derived from white oak dominated forests. This partnership spans multiple NWTF America’s Big Six focal regions, including America’s Southern Piney Woods, America’s Great Open Spaces, America’s Mid-South Rebirth, America’s Crossroads and America’s Colonial Forests.

While white oak growing stock are currently sufficient to meet today’s demand, forest monitoring and long-term projections indicate problems in maintaining high-quality white oak regeneration in the future.

White oak is critical to many wildlife species and to industries making forest products, such as furniture, flooring, cabinetry and barrels for wine and spirits. It also is important for recreational activities like hunting, and generates billions of dollars for local economies throughout the white oak region. For more information visit www.whiteoakinitiative.org.

Newly Emerging Initiatives 

Western Shared Stewardship Initiative

(AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WA, WY)

The Western Shared Stewardship Initiative will serve as a catalyst for improving wildlife habitat through shared investments in Shared Stewardship of our nation’s forests in high priority wildlife habitats in states with a signed Shared Stewardship Memorandum of Understanding with the USDA.

The Western initiative will help us achieve goals of America’s Western Wildlands focal region and is centered around the critical values of water, healthy wildlife and forests, recreation and communities. It will create urgency and provide support for forest restoration on public and private lands at the needed scale to addressing the impacts that catastrophic wildfires, prolonged drought and reduced forest management have created.

Waterways for Wildlife Initiative

(CO, KS, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WY)

The NWTF is developing a landscape-scale initiative to address the management of riparian communities and the conservation of these vital ecosystems, including the precious water resources they provide. By establishing cooperative partnerships, reliable funding sources, and supporting the implementation of “on the ground” improvements, this initiative strives to assist landowners and public land management agencies in restoring and managing riparian communities throughout the NWTF’s America’s Great Open Spaces and westward into parts of America’s Western Wildlands. This initiative will build off of very successful NWTF riparian initiatives, like the Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative and the Southern Great Plains Riparian Initiative. These two NWTF initiatives have included collaboration with more than 218 partners, conserved more than 81,055 acres and put more than $12.6 million on the ground.  The Waterways for Wildlife Initiative will build on our past successes through established partnerships, as well as present new opportunities to engage new, non-traditional partners like the irrigated agricultural community, municipalities and others concerned about water, wildlife habitat and the conservation of these ribbons of life.

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