MAY IS AMERICAN WETLANDS MONTH
May is American Wetlands Month. This is a good time to recognize the diversity of wetland habitats that exist in Florida and across the U.S., and the services they provide that are critical wildlife and people alike.
Over one-third of our threatened and endangered species live exclusively in wetlands, and almost half of these species use wetlands at some point in their life cycle. Wetlands support an astonishing array of plants and animals. They provide food and shelter for hundreds of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Services to Human Society
Beyond their wildlife benefits, wetlands provide key services for human communities. They protect against flooding and sea-level rise, help to recharge groundwater, and provide amazing opportunities for birdwatching and other recreation. Wetlands also naturally filter out pollutants, improving water quality and making our rivers and estuaries healthier for fish, other wildlife and people.
Learn more about the habitat and services provided by wetlands at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s American Wetlands Month page.
SPRING-SUMMER 2022 ISSUE OF QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE!
Keeping with the wetlands theme, the latest newsletter features an informative piece by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Biologist Peter Diamond on enhancing wetland habitats for resident and migratory waterfowl. We also celebrate the recent designation of Northwest Florida as a Sentinel Landscape! Check out these articles and the regular timber price update and certified landowner recognition features in this issue. Access the current and back issues of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter here.
USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY ACCEPTING NEW OR MODIFIED PROPOSALS FOR STATE ACRES WILDLIFE ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is welcoming new and modified proposals from conservation partners for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative, a part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) focused on effectively managing wildlife habitat. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has expanded available practices under this initiative in response to feedback from partners.
Through SAFE, producers and landowners restore vital habitat in alignment with high-priority state wildlife conservation goals. Specifically, landowners establish wetlands, grasses, and trees. These practices are designed to enhance important wildlife populations by creating critical habitat and food sources. They also protect soil and water health by working as a barrier to sediment and nutrient run-off before they reach waterways.
FSA is adding two new practices with the assistance of its sister agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS conservationists will provide CRP participants with conservation planning assistance, which will now include managing for early successional habitat cover establishment or management, and wildlife habitat planting. These additional eligible practices will enable SAFE partners to better target a wide variety of wildlife species, such as the Northern bobwhite quail and other species.
New or modified proposals for SAFE projects are to be submitted to USDA FSA State Offices in June 2022. More information on developing proposals is available at the FSA Conservation Reserve Program website. Find contacts at your USDA Service Center.
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