Rick Welsh (NFS – FST) PI, Tom Langen (Clarkson University) co-PI, and Maria Estelí Jiménez-Soto (NFS – FST) co-PI, How FSA CRP Program Managers Incorporate Science, Feasibility, and Acceptability in Guidelines for Conserving Grass and Breeding Birds on CRP Lands, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) – Conservation Reserve Program, Cooperative Agreement. 9/23/22-9/30/24
A recent legal settlement (NWF v. Veneman, Civil No. 04-2169) requires assessing and revising guidelines for permitted haying and grazing relative to the primary nesting season (PNS) of Breeding Grassland Birds (BGB) on USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrolled lands. Guidelines effective for conserving BGB may negatively impact private landowners’ production goals and willingness to participate in CRP since the program is voluntary. But CRP can improve conservation outcomes for BGB. Using literature reviews, qualitative interviews, and surveys, we will evaluate how PNS is determined in states with significant CRP enrollments and whether this process is effective at conserving BGB while meeting landowner goals. We will also recommend management practices that are scientifically defensible, feasible, and acceptable to landowners to improve conservation and production outcomes.