Photo credit Jesús Franco

For Landowners

South Texas Grassland Restoration Incentive Program

The Grassland Restoration Incentive Program (GRIP) is a multi-organization partnership led by the Rio Grande Joint Venture (JV) aimed at conserving grassland birds in key areas in South Texas. The GRIP promotes land management practices that maintain and or produce suitable grass-dominated habitat for wildlife by providing funding in the form of direct payment to landowners as an incentive for conducting approved grassland enhancement on their property.

For many years, bird populations that depend on diverse grasslands and grass-dominated shrublands throughout Texas have been steadily declining. Many factors have contributed to these population declines, but the primary cause is loss of habitat. In South Texas, these losses can be attributed to invasive non-native grasses, the increase of dense shrublands, and fire suppression. These factors have had a significant impact on Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Eastern Meadowlark, Cassin’s Sparrow, and multiple species of pollinators, such as Monarch butterflies. Since 1965, the population of Northern Bobwhite in Texas has decreased by over 90{a2e3d3a4ec2b76dc6eeaa0ce02d08c2e760b8c4adcccf41636aabf12235b3834} and the population of Scaled Quail has decreased by 80{a2e3d3a4ec2b76dc6eeaa0ce02d08c2e760b8c4adcccf41636aabf12235b3834}. To address these drastic population declines, private landowners need to be supported to improve habitat for wildlife that depend on grasslands and grass-dominated shrublands.

 

Application Process

Landowners work in coordination with a project manager [e.g., a local Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), or U.S. fish and Wildlife (FWS) biologist or other Rio Grande JV partner organization personnel] to prepare and submit a GRIP Project Proposal.

Projects that meet eligibility requirements are approved for funding. Payments are made to landowners for approved practices after completion of work is certified by the project manager. Participating landowners are asked to allow geospatial, vegetative, and bird data to be collected and recorded by Rio Grande JV partner organization staff for an agreed-upon period of time.

 

Eligible Counties

Initial grassland restoration efforts will take place in Brooks, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, LaSalle, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Zapata, and roughly the western half of Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, and Willacy Counties. Landowners whose properties fall within these counties area are encouraged to discuss their grazing and grassland-dependent wildlife habitat management objectives with TPWD, NRCS, FWS biologists.

 

Eligible Habitat Improvement Practices

Eligible practices include the following treatment categories: Brush Management, Invasive Herbaceous Plant Control, Range Planting, Fencing, Firebreaks, Prescribed Burning, Prescribed Grazing, and Early Successional Habitat Development. Eligible practices follow NRCS’ specifications and payment rates. See the GRIP Project Proposal Application for a detailed list of practices and payment rates.

Please see our GRIP fact sheet for more information [pdf file]

 

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