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.
Conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) Agreements are one of the ways the Department accomplishes this mission. Within the PLOTS program there are several types of programs that producers can choose from:
The Habitat Plot program is designed to be a multi-year rental program of three to six years or 10-20 year agreements that help to create, enhance or protect wildlife habitat while providing public access. The Food Plot program is a short-term program that provides a wildlife food source and public access.
The 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.
The CRP Cost-Sharing program provides assistance with establishment and management costs associated with the CRP in exchange for public access. The objective of this program is to improve public access in areas where it has traditionally been limited.
The WRP (Wetlands Reserve program) Incentive 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 Incentive is to restore, protect or enhance wetlands and associated uplands, as well as provide for public access.
The Tree Planting Cost-Sharing program provides assistance with the establishment costs of tree plantings. The goal of this program is to enhance wildlife habitat and conservation on private land and provide public access.
The Working Lands program (WLP) 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 has an online version of the PLOTS guide that will be updated as often as possible.
The Department also works with other state and federal agencies, US 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.
For more detailed information on these programs please see the private lands pages here.