The Cooperative Agreement for Stream Bank Restoration Program assists landowners through public-private partnerships by offering advice and funding for habitat projects on private lands that restore and protect wetlands and other wildlife habitat that might otherwise go unprotected. The funding for this cost-share initiative is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Program to GSWCC and provides incentives to install practices that improve riparian buffers and repair and protect stream banks. Project applications are prioritized in order to address priority watersheds and to provide maximum benefit to the 63 species on Georgia’s Threatened & Endangered Species List.
Agriculture has long been identified as a source of non-point source pollution in streams listed on the Georgia 303(d) and 305(b) Impaired Streams lists. These projects work to reduce non-point source pollution and protect, improve and restore habitats through 10-year agreements. Using GSWCC’s existing infrastructure, administrative costs are kept at a minimum, thereby allowing the majority of the funding to be available for landowner contracts.
Practices that have been part of this cost-share program in the past include establishing buffers, fencing, watering ramps, heavy use areas, and water troughs. GSWCC works with landowners to establish buffers that incorporate native plant species and offer habitats to local threatened and endangered species. These revived habitats also offer temporary housing for migratory birds throughout the year as well as fishery habitats in streams.
The Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program has contributed to the health and quality of over 50 miles of Georgia streams with the creation or improvement of more than 200 acres of riparian buffers. This program appeals strongly to landowners with a desire to continue their farming operation while improving conservation practices on their farms. The Stream Bank Restoration Program emphasizes landowner choice and control and also allows landowners to maintain all rights to their land including control of hunting and fishing. If you are interested in this program, please contact the Regional Office that covers your county.