In May 2016, 26 private landowners from across the country met in Denver, Colorado, to talk with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff about what is working in the Working Lands for Wildlife partnership and what opportunities exist for improvement. Their insights are captured in a recently released report, National Landowner Forum: Perspectives and Recommendations.
Jointly coordinated by Partners for Conservation and NRCS, and including funding support from the Intermountain West Joint Venture, the 2-day meeting provided a forum to share stories of both successes and challenges in carrying out the vision of WLFW conservation assistance.
The participants had five primary recommendations for expanding and improving Working Lands for Wildlife:
- Demonstrate need and build support for increased conservation technical assistance.
- Promote effective communication with landowners, NRCS staff members, and partners regarding Working Lands for Wildlife.
- Work on tools and techniques beyond communications that will help build relationships and partnerships at the local and regional levels.
- Develop the concept of flexibility in programs, practices, relationships, and partnerships in order to advance Working Lands for Wildlife as an approach.
- Help partners to identify the overall plan and vision for a landscape or focal species that will motivate participation and foster greater accountability.
The report notes that an overwhelming message that resonated throughout the forum was the importance of effective communication. As one of the initiatives within the Working Lands for Wildlife programs, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative is taking these recommendations to heart.
Over the coming months, we’ll be working on expanding communications with field staff, landowners, and partnering organizations to fine-tune our message and increase participation in the voluntary habitat conservation practices that make a real difference for both lesser prairie-chickens and agricultural producers. As always, we welcome any feedback you may have.