Monday, February 23, 2015

Increased Opportunities for Public Outdoor Recreation Coming Thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

Photo by George Andrejko
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today opened a new application period under the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), which harnesses the power of partnerships to create win-win opportunities for private landowners, science-based fish and wildlife conservation and the public.

The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the VPA-HIP with $40 million in total funding for state and tribal government programs to encourage owners and operators of privately held land to voluntarily make that land available for wildlife habitat improvements and public access for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation. 

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies commends the leadership of Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Thad Cochran (MS) and Congressmen Frank Lucas (OK) and Collin Peterson (MA) for supporting funding this program.

By helping to increase access and opportunities for hunting and fishing, the VPA-HIP in turn also helps to generate financial resources for state agencies to manage fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest.

Hunters and anglers are the nation’s foremost funders of state-based conservation as a result of their purchases of licenses and specially taxed gear. America’s sportsmen and women also deliver a more than $200 billion economic impact to the U.S. economy, especially in many rural and local communities.

NRCS is accepting applications for this round of the VPA-HIP through April 24, 2015 and the agency anticipates that up to $20 million will be available for this important competitive block grant program. If all $20 million available in this round is allocated, it will be the last VPA-HIP funding opportunity under this Farm Bill—which expires September 30, 2018—unless Congress appropriates additional funds.

The full announcement from NRCS is available at

Monday, February 2, 2015

It's Nomination Time for the National Conservation Leadership Institute Cohort 10

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) is now accepting nominations for Cohort 10 from state fish and wildlife agencies and the conservation community nationwide. 

In today's rapidly evolving world, organizations face unprecedented challenges that demand professionals with extraordinary leadership skills. NCLI was designed by multiple conservation groups 10 years ago to address that demand. Today, numerous organizations realize the value of the program, sending employees year after year. 

Following the world-renowned principles of Adaptive Leadership™, NCLI helps high-achieving conservation professionals learn advanced, adaptive problem-solving skills; establish life-long, high-trust relationships across organizational boundaries; and foster meaningful dialogue among the diverse voices that collectively represent conservation in America.

As always, applicants to the NCLI must be nominated by their agency director. Nominations will be accepted through April 30, 2015. 

Agencies and organizations may submit up to three nominations to compete for one of 36 spaces in this world- class leadership development program. Final selection is highly competitive so begin your internal recruitment now. 

Please visit for further information on the nomination process.