The Kansas Pheasant Initiative, an effort supported by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT), Pheasants Forever, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and other conservation partners, is one of the conservation programs to receive state-level grant funding - $800,000 - as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
The Kansas Pheasant Initiative is geared at managing upland habitat for pheasants. This initiative uses a focus-area approach, providing cost-share and incentives for practices that create and maintain pheasant habitat. Because widespread, isolated efforts have proved less effective, the Pheasant Initiative is directing resources into focus areas to promote connectivity of projects and facilitate landscape-level population increases.
The new Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which focuses heavily on public-private partnerships, aims to provide private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in efforts relating to land, water, agriculture, construction, tourism, and outdoor recreation.
The initiative is using several traditional management practices to meet goals, including the Conservation Reserve Program, while also incorporating agricultural practices that have the potential to provide habitat.
“It seems that there is a widespread misconception that modern production agriculture and wildlife management are not compatible,” says Jeff Prendergast , KDWPT small game specialist, “The funds from the RCPP program will give us the opportunity to promote modern production practices that are beneficial to wildlife, while being economically favorable to producers.” In fact, landowners accepted into the program will receive 100 percent of the estimated costs for implementing pheasant-friendly habitat practices on their properties.
The two focus areas include portions of Norton County and Mitchell/Osborne counties and both feature public wildlife areas. The RCPP funds will be utilized to implement cover crops and related practices to increase the availability of nesting and brood rearing cover while partners’ funds will be used to incentivize enrollment in other practices with the same goal.