New program for wildlife

A new Working Lands for Wildlife program has been launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help restore habitat for the lesser prairie chicken.

The program makes available $33 million to restore and protect habitat for the birds. Enrollment lasts through April 30, at which time USDA will rank eligible applications for funding. If money remains available, a second sign-up period is planned through May 30.

Higher payments will be available for farmers enrolling land in the program.

Land in 36 Kansas counties are eligible for enrollment in the program. In northwest Kansas, those counties are: Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Ness, rush, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, Trego and Wallace.

In Kansas, two conservation practices that improve LEPC habitat are prescribed grazing and brush management. In the past two years, Kansas landowners have been approved in 105 contracts to provide improved habitat and reduce disturbances for the LEPC on nearly 49,000 acres.