With a birds eye view on endangered species, organizations are teaming up to offer an incentive program that will have both landowners and local birds soaring.
The Audubon Society of New York and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a Jan. 5 deadline for applicants interested in participating in the Landowner Incentive Program for Grassland Protection and Management.
Through this program, private landowners who apply will be paid to participate. In order to be eligible “the land must be privately owned, located in one of the Grassland Focus Areas and not enrolled in similar incentive programs, like the USDA Farm Bill programs,” according to Scott Fickbohm, district manager of the Otsego Soil and Water Conservation District.
“Once a project proposal has been selected for funding, the DEC will notify the landowner to complete a State Assistance Contract,” he added.
The Audubon and DEC have identified seven Grassland Focus Areas throughout New York, with a good portion of the areas located in Otsego County. These Otsego County areas include portions of Richfield, Springfield, Otsego, Cherry Valley and Middlefield.
Bird species the Audubon and DEC are interested in protecting and whose habitat they are focusing on include the northern harrier, upland sandpiper, short-eared owl, horned lark, sedge wren, vesper sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow, boblink, eastern meadowlark, Savanna sparrows and barn owls.
“Many of these species are listed in NYS as threatened or as a species of concern,” Fickbohm said.
“Protecting Otsego County’s natural habitat is an excellent way to promote biodiversity and preserve the natural character of our local landscape,” explained Fickbohm.
He encouraged landowners who are interested in the program to apply immediately.
For more information, contact the Delaware/Otsego Audubon Society at 607-652-2162 for a pre-application and eligibility assessment form.
Forms can also be obtained from the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District at 607-547-8337.