Collaboration to Benefit Agricultural Lands

Talia GoesAgribusiness, Conservation, USDA

usda-logoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Defense Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Installations and Environment John Conger announced a federal, local and private collaboration that will preserve agricultural lands, assist with military readiness and restore and protect wildlife habitat.

Through the Sentinel Landscapes partnership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and Department of Defense (DoD) will work together in overlapping priority areas near military installations to help farmers and ranchers make improvements to the land that benefit their operation, enhance wildlife habitat, and enable DoD’s training missions to continue.

A result of collaboration through the White House Rural Council, the federal agencies will kick off this partnership through a pilot Sentinel Landscape in the South Puget Sound region of Washington State. Home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an important troop training facility, this region has some of the last remaining native prairie habitat in the state.

Building on the successes of USDA’s Working Lands for Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide regulatory predictability under the Endangered Species Act to ranchers who implement conservation practices in the pilot landscape, and is pursuing the possibility of granting ecosystem credits to DoD from the federal conservation investments.