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Texas Farm Bill ’EQIP’ Wildlife Funds Available
AUSTIN, Texas — A total of $1,697,386 in federal Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) money is available from the for funding grazing practices that benefit quail and other grassland birds.
Following are eligibility criteria by region:
Panhandle landowners close to known populations of lesser prairie chickens can apply for financial assistance through the program at 50 percent or more cost-share funding.
Eligible conservation practices include shin oak and sand sage control, prescribed burns and improvement of grazing management systems in a way that benefits lesser prairie chickens, bobwhite and scaled quail. Landowners who have existing prairie dog colonies receive extra points. Additional incentive payments will be made for needed grazing deferments and to landowners who follow approved wildlife and grazing management plans. Total amount available for the panhandle Lesser Prairie Chicken area this year will be $509,216.
Eastern Panhandle and Rolling Plains landowners interested in improving bobwhite quail habitat can get cost-share for controlling thick mesquite or juniper with selective mechanical treatment, herbicides and/or prescribed fire. Additional incentive payments will be made for needed grazing deferments and to landowners who follow approved wildlife and grazing management plans. Total amount available for the Rolling Plains bobwhite quail area this year will be $577,111.
South Coastal Texas landowners interested in improving bobwhite quail or Attwater’s prairie chicken habitat can receive cost-share for brush control, prescribed burns and incentive payments for needed grazing deferments. Additional incentive payments will be made to landowners who also follow approved wildlife and grazing management plans. Total amount available for the coastal Atwater’s Prairie Chicken/ bobwhite area this year will be $509,216.
East Texas landowners can receive 50 percent cost-share for site preparation, planting and managing longleaf pine stands including up to three required prescribed burns. Properly managed longleaf pine savannahs are excellent quail habitat. Total amount available for the longleaf pine area this year will be $101,843.
Applications for the 2004 program year will be accepted until April 16. You can apply at your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office. Office locations are listed on the Web (http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/) using the "Find a Service Center" link or by looking in the phonebook for USDA-NRCS in the U.S. Government section. Or for more information, you can contact Chuck Kowaleski at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (254) 742-9874.
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