Department of Environmental Conservation

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Landowner Incentive Program

Landowner Incentive Program

Landowner Incentive Program Grassland Project Site

The Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) was a unique partnership between the DEC and private landowners to protect the habitat of at-risk species on private lands. The program was funded by a grant from the Department of the Interior, United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Landowner involvement in the program was entirely voluntary. Since the land was privately owned, public recreation or use of the sites was not affected.

Protecting Private Lands

As wildlife and habitat managers, we recognize that habitat protection and management are the keys to wildlife survival and perpetuation. Approximately 85% of the State's 32 Million acres are privately owned. The vast majority of wildlife inhabit, use, or move through private property, where necessary management options are very limited. Current land-use patterns have also fragmented essential habitat, isolating populations or limiting their access to needed resources. We have learned that we cannot possibly acquire all the land necessary to give wildlife sufficient room and resources to thrive.

Historically, landowners have managed and protected vast areas of wildlife habitat. This program encouraged landowner participation in habitat management and protection by providing technical and financial assistance. This approach recognizes and rewards the role of private individuals in the stewardship of natural resources.

As administrators at the national level have recognized for many years, concrete incentives (monetary or otherwise) for private landowners are needed. It ensures that critical habitats are protected, restored, and maintained for the benefit of wildlife. In 2004, the USFWS awarded $1.12 million to New York to develop and initiate a Landowner Incentive Program. This funding provided resources to ensure that critical habitats are protected, restored, and maintained for the benefit of wildlife.

Priority Species and Habitats

Gated Bat Hibernaculum

This program focused on the protection and management of specific at-risk species and their habitat. These at-risk species have also been identified as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in our Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. Some of these species live and breed in habitats found throughout the state, whereas others depend on a few key sites for survival. Identifying and targeting specific sites or geographical areas makes the most efficient use of our resources. It provides the greatest benefit for our at-risk species.

We implemented three programs to address this need: