Department of Environmental Conservation

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Habitat Conservation Assistance Programs

If you are interested in learning more about the programs available, read the following summaries, e-mail us, or visit the links to the program websites below.

DEC Programs

Landowner Incentive Program (LIP)
The Landowner Incentive Program is funded in part through a 2004 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, and is administered by DEC. The grassland protection portion of this program pays a flat rate per acre for implementing a site management plan prepared by DEC. The landowner pays 25% of program costs to meet federal match requirements. Through three rounds of funding, LIP has worked with 40 landowners to protect over 4,300 acres of prime grassland habitat.

Currently, there is no funding for LIP grassland protection, but there may be a call for proposals if funding becomes available.

Federal Programs

All links below leave DEC website.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
CRP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Rental payments are provided to the landowner in exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from crop production. CRP encourages farmers to plant species that will reduce erosion, improve water quality, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. Land is enrolled in contracts for 10-15 years.

  • Conservation Reserve Program State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (CRP-SAFE): CRP-SAFE is similar to CRP, but is restricted to grassland focus areas. As the technical service provider, DEC prepares management plans and performs inspections. Conservation Practices in New York are currently limited to "CP-1: Establishment of permanent introduced grasses and legumes". Contact your county FSA office for more information.
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP): CREP is part of CRP and is administered by FSA. FSA works with states to identify high-priority conservation issues. The state and FSA then develop a project proposal to address these environmental issues and goals. Enrollment in a state is limited to specific geographic areas and practices. CREP contracts are typically 10-15 years in length. An annual rental rate and other incentives are offered to the enrollee.
  • Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands: CRP Grasslands is part of CRP, and provides enrollees with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contracts are between 14 and 15 years. The goal of CRP Grasslands is to protect grasslands, rangelands, and pastureland, while maintaining areas as grazing lands.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
CSP is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Participants are given an annual land use payment for the environmental benefits they produce. The higher the performance of the environmental benefits, the higher they are paid. CSP encourages participants to enhance practices they are already performing.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
EQIP is administered by NRCS and provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts that help address natural resource concerns that improve soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
ACEP is administered by NRCS. The goal is to protect productive agricultural lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses. Some of the programs include:

  • Agricultural Land Easements: NRCS provides financial assistance to purchase Agricultural Land Easements. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. The program also allows grazing uses of the land.
  • Wetland Reserve Easements: NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a wetland reserve easement. These easements protect wildlife habitat and improve water quality.

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFW)
PFW is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to help protect, enhance, and restore wildlife habitat on privately owned (non-federal) lands. The USFWS provides landowners with technical and financial assistance. Conservation activities in New York include restoring wetlands, grasslands, in-stream habitats, stream banks, and riparian and floodplain areas. Some eligibility requirements must be met.

Off-site Links

For additional conservation programs visit these websites:

  • Contact for this Page
    Bureau of Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4754
    Send us an email
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions