Benton County Contacts for Wildlife Habitat Programs and Consultation
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District Foresters are professional foresters that work with private landowners in regions throughout the state. They provide consultation and planning services related to timber sales, tree planting, and improving wildlife habitat or timber quality. They also provide guidance on cost share assistance programs and tax incentive programs. Professional foresters such as Iowa DNR district foresters and private forestry consultants should be the first point of contact for forestry projects.
USDA Service Center
Your local USDA service center houses staff from multiple agencies that can help with a variety of projects on private land.
- The Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) has staff who work exclusively with private landowners to improve soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat through federal land conservation programs. They administer the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides financial assistance and technical service for many activities including weed control, prescribed burning, forest management plans, and forest stand improvement. The NRCS is also a good source of information regarding pond construction.
- The Farm Service Agency administers several conservation-focused programs including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in addition to many loan and financial programs for farmers and landowners. Examples of practices eligible for federal cost-share and rental payments through CRP include grassland habitat establishment, hardwood tree planting, riparian forest buffer establishment, and many others.
- Soil and Water Conservation District staff provide assessment, planning, design, and cost share assistance to reduce soil loss, improve soil health, reduce runoff and protect water quality on private land.
Private Lands Biologist
There is a network of Private Lands Biologists in Iowa that serve similar roles and often work together to help landowners find the right help and programs. Here’s a list of the entities involved in private lands programs in the state indexed in this section.
- The Iowa DNR has a Private Lands Program with wildlife biologists and specialists that cover every county in Iowa and work with private landowners for wildlife habitat restoration projects. These biologists work closely with NRCS offices and other private lands programs in the state to make sure you find the right help.
- Pheasants Forever has a network of wildlife biologists that cover multi-county regions in most areas in the state. These biologists are partnership positions with NRCS, IDALS, SWCDs and work in county USDA offices to help landowners with technical assistance, conservation planning and help to enroll in conservation practices that are favorable to pheasants and quail and many other wildlife in Iowa.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program that employs biologists to work with private landowners on wildlife habitat projects on their land that benefit species like bats and migratory birds that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a mandate to help protect.
- This section also includes a grab-bag of other professionals, employed by non-profit organizations, municipalities, or other governmental organizations that work with private landowners on strategic projects throughout the state, primarily within focus watersheds.
The information contained on the Natural Resources Stewardship Directory on this website is an amalgamation of publicly-available information. Inclusion of entities in the application does not imply endorsement by Iowa State University or affiliates. Please contact us with any questions about the application.