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NRCS announces Project WINGS

COVINGTON -- District Conservationist Dennis Brooks of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced the NRCS will be accepting applications for Project WINGS (Wildlife Incentives for Non-game and Game Species) from May 15 through July 15.

Project WINGS is a three-year grants program available to groups and individuals interested in converting rights of way to productive wildlife habitat. The program is funded by the Georgia Power Company, Georgia Transmission Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Atlanta Gas Light Resources.

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service accepts applications and provides wildlife planning assistance to participants. The Georgia Forestry Commission and RC&D councils offer equipment services to all participants at reduced rates. The Two Rivers RC&D Council is the sold project administrator.

To be eligible for WINGS wildlife grants, the applicant must own or lease utility transmission rights of way land that is not presently used for livestock or domestic crops. And, the applicant must agree to convert and manage grant acres according to a three-year wildlife management plan prepared by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Participants select from a broad menu of the following management types: permanent plantings, annual plantings and fallow "disking" (immediately after mowing). All grant money is performance based. Exact dollars are determined by total WINGS acres approved (a maximum of 10 acres per participant per utility). Money is paid over three years at a flat rate of $50 per acre per year. The maximum total payment for the three-year contract cannot exceed $1,500 per utility. Applicants can receive multiple grants where multiple utilities exist on their owned or leased land.

The NRCS office is at 205 E. Jefferson St. in Madison and can be contacted at calling 706-342-1315.