Almost 90 percent of Arkansas's land is privately owned. With the right guidance, many landowners and managers who are interested in improving their private land as a wildlife habitat can implement practices like prescribed burns, herbicide applications against invasives and planting native warm season grasses. For those who might not know where to start, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission makes it easy to bring these practices and more to their private land through the Acres for Wildlife program.
Free for participating owners, the Acres for Wildlife program targets all wildlife species and gives special emphasis on species of greatest conservation need. When applied, the practices outlined in the program improve habitat and encourage landowners to consider wildlife needs in conjunction with good farming, livestock production and forestry practices.
The program does not retire cropland or grazing land, nor does it open "posted" land to hunters. This is left entirely to the discretion of the landowner.
Benefits of the Program
- Free technical assistance from a Private Lands Biologist.
- Cost share practices for timber/wildlife.
Contract period shall be one year from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. Each practice should be completed during the contracted period. These practices should be maintained for a period of 5 years. If an applicant does not get the practice done in the defined period, the applicant forfeits the money and is not eligible for future applications for a period of two years.
Period for all cost-share payment practices is 1 year from July 1 to June 30 the following year)
- Each landowner is eligible to receive up to $15,000 (in addition to in-kind practices) per contract.
- There should be no repeated disturbances to the contracted acreage, such as: shooting ranges, dog field trials or urban disturbances.
No practice will be implemented inside of a high-fence enclosure.
The ranking questions should reflect this list of priorities from highest to lowest for the Acres For Wildlife program.
- Applicant property is within a Conservation Opportunity Area.
- Applicant has completed a Acres For Wildlife project, or has completed a wildlife- or forestry-related Farm Bill application
- Applicant is a paid member of a Prescribed Burn Association in Arkansas and has access to get their property burned by the Prescribed Burn Association
- Applicant is a member of Deer Management Assistance Program club in good standing.
The first round of applications will be accepted May 15 through July 1. Contracts for the first round will be issued July 15.
A second round of applications will be accepted from January 1 to January 15 for the remainder of funding. Contracts for the second round will be issued by January 20.