Habitat and Wildlife Landowner Assistance

Financial assistance for landowners

The following programs are available to landowners to improve wildlife habitat. To learn more about each, contact a Private Lands Unit biologist.

Indiana Department Of Natural Resources-Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW)

Game Bird Habitat Development Program

To participate in this program, a landowner must own or control 5 or more acres.

The program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by a landowner for developing bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, American woodcock, mourning dove, ruffed grouse or wild turkey habitat as specified in a management plan. The program may reimburse up to $330 per acre of habitat created. Financial incentives up to $100 per acre may be available for development and maintenance of quality wildlife habitat beneficial to aforementioned gamebirds. The program will reimburse landowners for habitat developments based on DFW Habitat Development Reimbursement Rates. Annual cap limits apply to financial agreements.

Financial assistance from this program may not be used on any licensed or commercial hunting preserve. Habitat improvements developed through this program must be maintained as specified in the management plan for a minimum of three years.

Wildlife Habitat Cost-Share Program

To participate in this program, a landowner must own or control 5 or more acres.

The program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by a landowner for developing wildlife habitat as specified in a management plan. The program will reimburse the landowner for habitat development projects based on DFW Habitat Development Reimbursement Rates. Annual cap limits apply to financial agreements.

Habitat improvements developed through this program must be maintained as specified in the management plan for a minimum of three years.

Game Bird Partnership Program

The Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife administers this program in partnership with local not-for-profit conservation organizations such as Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever or the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by a landowner for developing bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, American woodcock, mourning dove, ruffed grouse or wild turkey habitat. DFW may contribute up to 50 percent of the reimbursable costs, not to exceed $330 per acre. The sponsoring partnership organization must also contribute funds, materials or labor. Annual cap limits apply to financial agreements.

Financial assistance from this program may not be used on any licensed or commercial hunting preserve.  Habitat improvements developed through this program must be maintained as specified in the management plan for a minimum period of 3 years.

N.E. Wetland/Grassland Restoration Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited and the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife partner with other conservation organizations and landowners to deliver the N.E. Wetland/Grassland Restoration Program.

The program reimburses landowners up to 100 percent of the expenses incurred for the restoration of wetlands and the establishment of native grasses.

Qualifying projects must be located in one of the following northern Indiana counties: Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Steuben, Noble, DeKalb, Whitley, Fulton, Marshall, St. Joseph or Allen.

Urban Wildlife Habitat Cost Share Program

To participate in this program, the project must exist within an identified urban priority habitat area (greater Indianapolis, greater Fort Wayne, South Bend/Mishawaka/Elkhart regions.

The program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by an entity for developing urban wildlife habitat as specified in a management plan. Projects must have at least one other partner as a financial contributor. The program will reimburse expenditures for habitat development projects based on DFW Habitat Development Reimbursement Rates. Annual cap limits apply to financial agreements.

Habitat improvements developed through this program must be maintained as specified in the management plan for a minimum of three years.

Grasslands for Gamebirds & Songbirds

This is a partnership program designed to develop grassland & pollinator habitat in five focal regions of Indiana.

The objective is to benefit grassland birds such as the Northern bobwhite quail and loggerhead shrike through the development of quality grassland habitat. This program provides technical assistance, financial cost-share assistance, and incentive payments to landowners.

CORRIDORS

CORRIDORS is an acronym for Conservation On Rivers & Roadways Intended to Develop Opportunities for Resources & Species. The partnership provides technical and financial assistance for the establishment of quality wildlife and pollinator habitat in priority corridors throughout Indiana.

Partners include the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever.

CORRIDORS provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners along public rights-of-way and to municipalities to establish wildlife and pollinator habitats in the following priority areas:

  • All State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) Conservation Opportunity Areas (COAs).
  • Areas adjacent to water.
  • Areas within all mapped 100-year floodplains.
  • Areas adjacent to all state highways and interstates.

Funding comes from USDA-EQIP, Indiana Gamebird Habitat Stamp sales, and INDOT right-of way maintenance funds.

APPLE

APPLE, an acronym for Access Program Providing Land Enhancements, is DFWs first private lands hunter access program.

APPLE provides financial incentive payments to private landowners who allow controlled public access hunting on their lands. Wildlife biologists also will work with landowners to establish and improve habitat.

Interested hunters apply via reserved draw for hunting opportunities of Northern bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant and American woodcock. The landowner reserves the hunting privileges for all species on the property except for the scheduled dates when the property is being accessed for the APPLE controlled hunts.

CHAP

The Community Hunter Access Program, or CHAP, is designed to increase hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer and to help alleviate human/deer conflicts.

The program will provide community partners with financial and technical assistance to administer hunting programs in their communities. Each CHAP hunt and the associated community will work with a DFW-certified CHAP Hunt Coordinator to administer the hunt.  Each partner will work with a CHAP Hunt Coordinator to determine the location and time of the hunts, the number of hunters, and hunter eligibility.

Partnering communities, homeowners associations, parks and other organizations must submit the CHAP application form by March 31 of each calendar year to be considered for the program.

Indiana Department Of Natural Resources Division of Forestry

Classified Forest and Wildlands Program

This program provides a property tax reduction to landowners enrolling 10 or more acres of forest, grassland, shrubland or wetland.

The landowner must follow a management plan approved by a DNR district forester to remain in compliance. A legal description of the acreage must be prepared by a registered surveyor and recorded in the County Recorder’s Office. The assessed value of classified lands is reduced for property tax purposes.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) - General Sign-Up Program

This program is a voluntary land-retirement program that enables eligible agricultural lands to be enrolled, during specific sign-up periods, into various conservation cover types that address soil erosion, water quality and wildlife habitat. The program provides annual payments commensurate with contract length (10 to 15 years) and 50 percent cost-share for the establishment of the conservation cover and other needed conservation practices.

Common conservation practices might include native grass and forb establishment, hardwood tree planting, or permanent wildlife habitat development.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) - Continuous Sign-Up Program

This program is a voluntary land-retirement program that enables eligible agricultural lands to be enrolled at any time into buffer practices to address soil erosion and water quality. Many of the practices can also be designed to improve wildlife habitat.

The program provides annual payments in excess of those available through General CRP, and incentive payments and cost-share assistance commensurate with contract length (10 to 15 years) and conservation practice selection. Common conservation practices include filter strips, riparian buffers, habitat buffers for upland birds, or grassed waterways. Whole field establishments to benefit at-risk wildlife species may be possible through State Acres for Wildlife practice.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

This program is a voluntary land-retirement program that enables eligible agricultural lands to be enrolled at any time into buffer practices to address soil erosion and water quality in targeted watersheds. The program provides financial assistance and annual payments that exceed those available through Continuous CRP.

This program targets agricultural lands adjacent to watercourses in the following watersheds:  Highland-Pigeon, Lower East Fork White, Lower Wabash, Lower White, Middle Wabash-Busseron, Middle Wabash-Deer, Middle Wabash-Little Vermillion, Tippecanoe, Upper East Fork White, Upper Wabash, and Upper White.

Common conservation practices would be similar to those in CRP or Continuous CRP, but with an increased financial incentive.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)

WRE provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners for the restoration of wetlands and associated upland habitat. The level of financial assistance is dependent upon the enrollment option selected by the landowner. Easement options range from term easements to permanent easements.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers for establishing conservation practices to benefit wildlife and protect soil and water quality. Assistance is targeted based upon identified natural resource concerns.

EQIP reimburses landowners at a pre-determined rate. EQIP provides cost-share assistance, but does not provide annual payments to producers. Certain EQIP funds are used in financial partnership with the DNR CORRIDORS program (see CORRIDORS for more information).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

This program provides financial assistance to private landowners through voluntary cooperative agreements for the restoration of wetlands and other habitats of significant importance to Federal trust species. Landowners sign an agreement to retain the restoration project for at least 10 years.

Technical Assistance

Have land that you want to manage for wildlife?

Have questions about the Classified Forest and Wildlands Program?

Have questions about your pond?