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U.S. Prairie Pothole Joint Venture
Implementation Plan

Strategies


Strategies are those actions which have been determined necessary, effective, and reasonable to address factors impeding attainment of the objectives and, ultimately, the goal of the Joint Venture. Strategies are the actions which agencies, organizations, and individuals implement to achieve the goal of the PPJV by focusing their time, dollars, and personnel. Strategies are the tools that the PPJV partners use to restore the landscape and to manage wildlife populations in the Joint Venture.

The basic strategies to be used in the PPJV are wetland and/or grassland protection, restoration, creation, and enhancement. More intensive practices such as predator exclosures, rotational grazing systems, and nesting structures will be employed on a site-by-site basis where natural habitat management opportunities cannot be realized.

The fundamental biological problems impeding attainment of the objectives in the PPJV are habitat loss and degradation. The combined impact of these factors has resulted in unacceptably low waterfowl production and declining populations of waterfowl and other wetland/grassland associated migratory birds. Habitat loss in the PPR is generally the result of wetland drainage and agricultural conversion of native grasslands to cropland. Habitat loss, increased populations of certain predator species, especially red fox and raccoon, have impacted nesting success.

This plan recognizes that the majority of wetlands, grasslands, waterfowl production, and other wildlife occur on private lands. Within the confines of operating a profitable agricultural enterprise, preserving habitat and producing waterfowl and other wildlife must include adequate compensation or benefits for the private landowner, while providing acceptable alternatives to traditional cropping and livestock grazing practices. As such, USDA programs will continue to play a major role in achieving PPJV objectives. While resource management agencies and organizations have limited impact on agricultural land practices, the Federal farm bills and individual landowner practices provide great opportunity for habitat gains on private lands in the PPJV. Maintaining and refining farm bill provisions for swampbuster, sodbuster, the CRP, and the WRP continue to be a major focus of PPJV partner activities. Maintaining the WBP will also be a related effort.

This plan also recognizes that acquisition of land in fee title is usually the most secure method of protecting and managing habitat. However, it is apparent that fee title acquisition reaches financial, management, social acceptability, and political limits well before waterfowl and other wildlife habitat and population objectives can be obtained. All levels of NAWMP planning recognize that the waterfowl production problem cannot be solved by fee acquisition. Fee acquisition will continue to be a major Joint Venture strategy, because perpetually protected core areas (National Wildlife Refuges, Waterfowl Production Areas, State Management Areas), beyond their intrinsic value, are the foundation for expanding habitat conservation activities on private lands.

Perpetual and other long term easements of both wetlands and grasslands are also vital components of the protection and improvement strategies of this plan. Easements are somewhat less cost, and remain both socially and politically more acceptable.

The strategies outlined in this plan combine to create a landscape level approach to management. Strategies are targeted to meet the biological needs of waterfowl and wetland/grassland associated wildlife in virtually every type of landscape where improved management is deemed reasonable. Strategies have been devised to provide for the involvement of a broad range of agencies, organizations, and individuals within the joint venture. Most strategies are continuations and expansions of existing management programs that implement practices of proven benefit.


PPJV Implementation Strategies

WETLAND STRATEGIES

Existing quantity, quality, and complex associations of wetlands in the PPR are inadequate to:

  • attract and support sufficient waterfowl breeding pairs

  • support waterfowl broods

  • attract and support stable or increasing populations of wetland associated migratory birds.          

PPJV Implementation strategies will include the following:

  • Protect existing wetlands (fee title, easement, lease)

  • Restore drained wetlands (public and private lands)

  • Create wetlands (stock dams, dugouts, erosion control reservoirs)

  • Enhance/Manage wetlands (vegetation management, water control management

GRASSLAND STRATEGIES

Secure, suitable, grassland breeding habitat is inadequate to maintain or increase populations of waterfowl and other grassland nesting migratory birds.

PPJV strategies will include the following:

  • Protect remaining native grasslands (fee title, easement, lease)

  • Protect CRP grassland acreage (fee title, short-term through perpetual easements)

  • Convert and restore former cropland to grassland (public and private)

  • Manage grasslands (burning, rotational grazing, seeding, delayed haying)          

POPULATION STRATEGIES

Baseline data collection, intensive population monitoring, and in certain circumstances, intensive wildlife management actions are collectively necessary to stabilize or increase waterfowl and other wetland/grassland migratory bird populations.

PPJV strategies will include the following:

  • Population monitoring and data collection (breeding pair and production surveys, BBS, and point counts)

  • Directed studies and research (evaluation of impacts of waterfowl management practices on other migratory birds, shorebird migration patterns, predator impacts)

  • Predator management (peninsula cut-offs, nesting structures, island creation, predator exclosures)

COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES 

Involving the public and land management agencies in a broad scale, unified effort to induce positive, long term changes in land use on private and public lands to benefit waterfowl and wetland/grassland associated wildlife, is vital to the success of the PPJV.

PPJV strategies will include the following:

  • Implement the PPJV Communications Strategy and Action Items. (Appendix E)

  • Encourage changes in agricultural land use and management practices that are beneficial to waterfowl and prairie wildlife (reduced use of chemicals, no-till planting techniques, residual cover)

Strategies are meant to be dynamic. As understanding of limiting factors change, as new conservation techniques are developed, and as opportunities change, strategies must be added, eliminated, modified, and shifted in priority.

Appendix D and Appendix E contain specific details and guidelines for applying PPJV wetland, grassland, population, and communication strategies.


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