Whatever the goal -- bringing back pheasants, planting woodland for long-term profit or improving water quality -- reopening signup June 9 for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is great for landowners and farmers who want to protect environmentally sensitive land.
“Other than a few weeks last winter, it’s the first opportunity for people to enroll in Pheasant SAFE, a continuous CRP designed to bring pheasants and other grassland birds back by providing winter habitat,” said Chuck Gipp, DNR director.
Those interested in more permanent plantings can strategically plant trees to reduce flood damages, protect streambanks or provide future income. “The forest planted today provides future benefits including income, hunting opportunities and reduced erosion,” according to Bruce Trautman, DNR deputy director.
Other eligible continuous practices can benefit water quality and include buffer or filter strips, wetlands and plantings to reduce erosion on highly erodible land.
Iowa had 45,000 acres available Monday under Pheasant SAFE, a State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement CRP. Other Continuous CRP programs are also available and may be a good match for landowners whose General CRP contracts are expiring.
Contact a DNR wildlife biologist or forester to receive technical help and to learn more about matching your goals to available programs. Or, visit your local USDA office. Find more information at www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/LandStewardship/WildlifeLandownerAssistance/FinancialAssistance.aspx.