Earlier this week, Executive Director of Partners for Conservation (PFC), Steve Jester with Dina Moore (PFC board member from northern CA) and Duane Coombs (PFC board member from Nevada) came to Washington, D.C. to discuss the benefits of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. They visited with members of the California and Nevada congressional delegations and explained how important the Partners program is to private landowners and communities that are working to put conservation on the ground all over the country.
Partners Program Makes a Difference on the Ground
The Partners Program is a very flexible government program that focuses on incorporating individual landowners goals and objectives for their property into high quality wildlife and habitat projects that benefit both the critters and the people. More than 75 percent of fish and wildlife species depend on private lands for their survival making the Partners Program crucial for their survival. Without the program, some landowners are more inclined to sell their land to developers, thus threatening the species.
While most projects in the Partners Program are a partnership between a single landowner and the Service, a large number of cases in the program serve as channels to bring together multiple public and private partnerships. Since the program began 25 years ago, more than 45,000 landowners and 3,000 organizations have completed 29,000 restoration projects resulting in the voluntary restoration of 3,176,000 upland acres, 939,000 wetland acres, and 8,712 riparian miles.
Partners Program Makes Economic Sense
For every $1 invested, almost $16 dollars are leveraged from private and other public sources because of these programs. The program also creates 3,500 jobs nationwide, resulting in a total economic stimulus of $292 million.
In the words of PFC board member Duane Coombs this is “the way government programs ought to work with multiple public and private partners involved and everybody having some skin in the game”.