The USDA has announced that an additional $8 million is available to create or expand existing public access programs or provide incentives to increase access to hunting and fishing and to improve wildlife habitat on enrolled lands. The funding is being provided through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).
"The Obama administration is committed to enhancing hunting, fishing and outdoor opportunities, and this program will help participating landowners conserve the environment while increasing opportunities for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The funding is authorized under the 2008 farm bill. Approximately $11.75 million of VPA-HIP funds were awarded to 17 states in 2010.
Twenty-six states have public access programs for hunting, fishing and other related activities. These programs provide rental payments and other incentives, such as technical or conservation services to landowners who, in return, allow public hunting, fishing or other compatible recreational activities on their land.
States and tribal governments can submit VPA-HIP applications for 2011 funding through the federal government's grants portal - www.grants.gov to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for consideration. Funding will be awarded to those state and tribal governments whose proposals are accepted by FSA. States with approved applications and funding awarded in 2010 associated with multi-year VPA-HIP proposals do not need to re-submit request for application in 2011.
For more information on VPA-HIP, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/vpa