Land Use / Land Cover
Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Years of Implementation
The Voluntary Public Access Habitat Improvement Program (VPAHIP), part of the USDA’s 2014 Farm Bill, provides funding to state agencies to “partner with landowners in their areas to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities and protect at-risk wildlife.” In Pennsylvania, funds are being used by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) to “improve wildlife habitat and public access for recreational opportunities on privately owned and operated farm, ranch, and forest lands” and are available to landowners enrolled in the Hunter Access Program. By enrolling in the Hunter Access Program, landowners enter an access agreement with PGC for five or more years, for the proposed project area, which must include at least 20 hectares (50 acres) of land (PGC 2013).
Under both programs, PGC biologists provide technical assistance to cooperators to develop habitat plans and habitat improvement recommendations. The goals of the VPAHIP are to make private land available for wildlife-dependent recreation (hunting, trapping, and fishing) while also improving habitat for at-risk species by providing free implementation of approved improvement projects. The project has recently expanded from general wildlife and game-specific habitat improvements to habitat enhancements that also benefit bees, butterflies, and other native pollinators. Funding has gone to the purchase of nectar and host plant seeds for private landowner habitat improvement projects and “many projects have already created herbaceous openings or include herbaceous plantings that benefit pollinators, including the monarch butterfly” (AFWA 2015).
Amount of the Incentive
Technical assistance to develop habitat plans, offers free implementation for approved projects