The Department’s mission is to protect, conserve, and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitats for sustained public use. The Private Land Initiative (PLI) is the Department’s overall mechanism for applying this mission onto the private landscape.
The PLI has three main goals:
- Conserve habitat for fish and wildlife populations.
- Provide landowners interested in wildlife conservation with cost-sharing assistance for developing and protecting wildlife habitat.
- Provide the public with opportunities to access fish and wildlife resources on private land.
- Habitat Plot Program is designed to be a multi-year rental program of 3- to 6-year or 10- to 20-year agreements that help to create, enhance or protect wildlife habitat while providing public access.
Conservation PLOTS agreements are one of the ways the Department accomplishes this mission. Within the PLOTS program producers have several types of programs from which to choose:
- Food Plot Program is a short-term program that provides a wildlife food source and public access.
- Private Forest Conservation Program is a multi-year rental program that works to provide protection and enhancement in unique forested systems and also provides for public access.
- CRP Access Program provides assistance with establishment and management costs associated with CRP in exchange for public access. The objective of this program is to improve public access in areas where it has traditionally been limited.
- Wetlands Reserve Program is a partnership program between NRCS and the Department, which provides additional incentives to producers enrolling their land in WRP. The primary purpose of WRP is to restore, protect or enhance wetlands and associated uplands, as well as provide for public access.
- Tree Planting Cost-Sharing Program provides assistance with establishment costs of tree plantings. The goal of this program is to enhance wildlife habitat and conservation on private land and provide public access.
- Working Lands Program is a short-term program based on the wildlife value of lands actively farmed or ranched while providing public access. The current farming or ranching management practices of the lands are evaluated by biologists, who place values on components such as conservation practices, good stewardship and quality of hunting habitat and public access.
The Department also works with other state and federal agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Natural Resources Trust, Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants for the Future and local wildlife clubs to carry out wildlife habitat projects on some PLOTS tracts.