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Working Lands for Wildlife: Workspace for Staff & Partners

Through Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), USDA uses a win-win approach to systematically target conservation efforts to improve agricultural and forest productivity which enhance wildlife habitat on working landscapes. Target species are used as barometers for success because their habitat needs are representative of healthy, functioning ecosystems where conservation efforts benefit a much broader suite of species.
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The WLFW Conservation Model for Success


  • Trust and Credibility: NRCS takes a community, grassroots approach to conservation that’s based on the principles of neighborliness.
  • Shared Vision: NRCS-recommended conservation practices benefit wildlife and agriculture. Meet some of the Habitat Heroes who have made wildlife-friendly improvements to working lands.
  • Strategic Approach: NRCS directs resources where the biological returns are the highest. See wildlife conservation strategies to learn more about where NRCS is targeting its efforts.
  • Accountability: NRCS and conservation partners use science to measure conservation effectiveness and quantify outcomes. See Science to Solutions reports for more information on the scientific backbone of WLFW and how species are responding to conservation; track WLFW’s efforts by species through wildlife progress reports.
  • Leverage: NRCS brings together partners to multiply investments to achieve more conservation.
  • Regulatory Predictability: Through WLFW, NRCS partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide predictability under the Endangered Species Act, providing peace of mind to participating landowners.

Conservation efforts on private lands are making a difference across the country, from the sagebrush country of the West to the forests of Appalachia and New England. For these stories and many more, download the agency’s WLFW magazine, A Partnership for Conserving Landscapes, Communities & Wildlife.

Through the Farm Bill, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to participants who voluntarily make improvements to their working lands while the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) provides participants with regulatory predictability for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This innovative approach empowers landowners with a means to make on-the-ground improvements and provides peace of mind that no matter the legal status of a species, they can keep their working lands working.

This model has proven extremely popular with private landowners across the United States. To date, WLFW has helped producers conserve more than 7.1 million acres of wildlife habitat and has helped many species such as the greater sage-grouse in the West and the New England cottontail in the Northeast. For both of these species — in large part because of voluntary conservation efforts on private lands — the FWS determined listing under ESA was not warranted. Beginning in 2017, NRCS expanded this model and now includes 19 landscapes covering 48 States.

Through Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), NRCS works with partners and private landowners to focus voluntary conservation on working landscapes. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers, helping them plan and implement conservation practices that benefit target species and priority landscapes.

Some of our latest resources include:

  • WLFW Conservation Strategy for Golden-winged Warbler: This five-year game plan will guide efforts to enable forest landowners to manage for 15,000 acres of breeding habitat by the end of fiscal 2021. Download the strategy.
  • ‘Healthy Sagebrush Communities’ digital poster: This new poster highlights the wildlife of the unique but imperiled sagebrush landscape as well as the steps ranchers are taking to restore and protect it. Download the posterView the multimedia story.
  • #HabitatHero: John Hoover multimedia story: Meet John, a Pennsylvania forest landowner who is managing his forests for two at-risk birds, the golden-winged warbler and cerulean warbler. View the multimedia story.
  • #HabitatHero: Greg Peterson multimedia story: Meet Greg, a Colorado rancher who is managing native rangelands to benefit livestock and sage grouse. View the multimedia story.

Email updates: Subscribe to receive periodic email updates

Agricultural producers: To learn more about assistance available through WLFW, contact your local USDA service center. Additionally, information is available online for each of the WLFW species (project boundaries, key practices, etc.) as well as the steps to get started with NRCS.

Conservation partners: See Partner Resources to learn more about collaborating through WLFW.

Contacts: Galon Hall, (202) 690-2196; Tim Griffiths, (406) 587-6812; Bridgett Costanzo, (804) 287-1513; Justin Fritscher, (202) 720-5776.

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