The Partners Program in New York is administered by the New York Field Office in Cortland, New York. The Partners Program began in 1990 with a focus on restoring several types of habitat: wetlands, uplands, streams, and riparian areas. Projects are focused in priority areas; where conservation efforts will provide the greatest benefit for federal trust species including: migratory birds, anadromous fish, and federally-listed threatened and endangered species. Habitats that were once in a degraded state are now providing important cover, food, water, and breeding areas for many species.
Wetland restoration is a focus for the Partners Program due to their importance to many Federal trust species, such as migratory birds. Restoration techniques have focused on returning hydrology to drained wetlands. Drainage tile was broken and small berms and ditch plugs were constructed to keep water from quickly leaving the site. These techniques have been refined over the years and now wetland restoration projects are carefully crafted to blend into the landscape and involve a variety of activities, such as: creating micro-topography, establishing complexes of small seasonal wetlands, and restoring larger permanent wetlands.
Grasslands are required for nesting habitat for many species of migratory birds. The decline of grasslands in the Northeast is directly correlated with the decline of species such as bobolink and eastern meadowlark. The Partners Program uses management techniques such as mowing, burning, planting both warm- and cool-season grasses, and invasive species removal to restore grassland habitat.
Streams and Riparian Areas
Streams and riparian areas support fish, amphibians, mussels, and many other species needed for a diverse community. One restoration technique that is cost effective and valued by natural resource advocates as well as farm groups and landowners is streambank fencing. The Partners Program purchases equipment and provides labor to protect streams from grazing livestock. Along with sediment and nutrient reduction in the stream, excellent habitat is provided for both fish and wildlife. The landowner benefits from having a quality fence to use as part of a rest-rotation grazing system that allows the profitable, yet wildlife-friendly, use of the land. In-stream work concentrates on the concept of natural channel design that reduces sediment, improves fish and wildlife habitat, and cost-effectively creates a stable stream. This is a state-of-the-art approach that requires special expertise but has outstanding payoff for New York’s streams.
Purple loosestrife, a European wetland plant, has invaded many wetlands in New York to the point of being the dominant plant species. This plant out-competes most native species, keeping native wetland plants that provide important food and cover for wildlife from proliferating, thus reducing plant diversity. Wetland managers have tried to control purple loosestrife with herbicides, water level regulation, hand pulling, and covering with black plastic, but are meeting with very little success. The Partners Program works with Cornell University to release beetles that feed only on loosestrife which stresses the plant and reduces its vigor so native plants can better compete. Another common invasive plant is multiflora rose. This plant is common in old pastures and can dominate a grassland in a few years, if not controlled. The Partners Program works to reduce multiflora rose invasions of fields to make those fields more attractive for grassland nesting birds.
The Partners Program has worked with schools and nature centers throughout New York State to restore wetlands, grasslands, and savannah that are used in conjunction with environmental educational programs. In addition, Partners staff give presentations at these sites to teach about the biological values these habitats provide.
Farming for Wildlife and Profit
In addition to habitat restoration, the Partners Program also improves the effectiveness of the conservation provisions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by providing the technical expertise needed to evaluate which projects provide the most benefit to fish and wildlife, demonstrating as well as recommending management and restoration techniques, and providing data that lets the Federal funds be used most effectively. This relationship combines the more extensive funding of the USDA with the biological expertise of the Partners Program in order to benefit the public. The Partners Program recognizes that agricultural lands are more valuable to wildlife than urban development and works with agricultural producers to keep farms both economically and biologically productive. The special expertise of Partners staff has affected more than a million acres of private lands enrolled in various USDA conservation programs.
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Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in New York is not employed by or affiliated with the Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.
Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in New York
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
3817 Luker Road
Cortland, New York 13045 Phone: