Resources for CE Land Owners
As a conservation easement landowner, protecting the conservation values of your property is important.
Proper care and management of your land will ensure that the natural habitats remain in a healthy state. While SWMLC cannot offer on-the-ground management on privately-owned lands, we want to be sure to provide as many resources as possible for our CE landowners so they are able to make wise decisions when it comes to land management.
On this page, you will find information about:
♦ Invasive Plant Species
♦ Landscape Stewardship Plan guide
♦ Events & Workshops
♦ Conservation Programs & Grant Opportunities for Landowners
♦ Longview, SWMLC’s special newsletter for conservation easement landowners
Learn to Recognize Invasive Plants on Your Own Property
SWMLC has been working in collaboration with other conservation organizations to fight invasive plants in the Lake Michigan coastal region. Click here for a guide to help you identify some of the invasive plants often associated with this region.
Invasive Plant Species
Invasive plant species are one of the greatest threats to an ecosystem. Invasive plants aggressively out-compete native plants, destroying the quality of a natural area by affecting wildlife habitat, water quality, and biodiversity in general. If you think you have invasive plants on your property and would like to begin managing them on your own, here are a few steps you can take to ensure the best results.
As always, don’t forget to contact us before you begin any large-scale management projects!
1. Be sure to identify the plant correctly.
2. Scout your property to understand the full extent of the infestation.
3. Based on your observations, devise a “plan of attack” and choose your methods.
4. Always monitor your populations after treatment, and know that it might take multiple treatments to ensure complete kill.
Did you know that japanese knotweed is a problem in the UK as well? Click here for an interesting article with a British perspective, and guidelines on identifying and eliminating this pest that are universal.
Another Great Resource for Land Owners
Funded by the US Forest Service through the Stewardship Network, Dr. Hugh Brown has created an informative document called Landscape Stewardship Plan: Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo Counties, Michigan. Though it is specific to the Barry-Calhoun-Kalamazoo area, the information is fresh (2017) and relevant to most of our larger service area. It offers background into the natural history of our area, stories of how other landowners are approaching management, and a listing of conservation services (including consulting, forestry, invasive species management) in our region. Click here or on the image to link to the PDF.
Events and Workshops
There are a variety of ways to learn more about managing the land you love. A great way to get hands-on field experience is to attend one of our Saturday workdays. Click here to see when and where the next one will be.
A number of other environmental organizations in the area offer workshops, events, and programs too. For a complete listing of events at nearby nature centers, visit these websites:
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is both a nature center and biological field station. The Institute provides a wide range of activities and learning experiences, from establishing a backyard wildlife habitat and increasing home energy efficiency, to guided nature hikes and lectures on ecological and environmental topics.
This unique nature center, located in southwest Michigan’s Berrien County, has eight miles of trails meandering through its 1,000 acres. Sarett Nature Center provides natural science education to people of all ages in our community.
Conservation Programs and Grant Opportunities for Landowners
NAWCA Small Grants Program
The Small Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the United States that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds.
Partners for Fish and Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program has funds to support habitat restoration on private lands with focus on wetland and grassland restoration, such as ditch plugging, stabilizing stream banks, or prairie plantings. There is match required, but landowner time can be included.
The following conservation programs are available to landowners for extra incentives and can be written to be complementary with the conservation easement on your property.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources.
Conservation Stewardship Program
Provides annual payments and cost share to conduct conservation activities to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner.
Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program
Provides cost share up to 75% to develop and improve high-quality habitat that supports wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance.more info
Conservation Reserve Program
Provides rental payments and cost share to plant long-term covers to improve water quality, control erosion, and enhance wildlife.more info
Agricultural Water Enhancement Program
Provides payment support to develop and implement a management plan that addresses water quality and water conservation.
Qualified Forestry Program
Provides property tax reduction to landowners who manage their land for forestry, does not require the land to be open to hunting.
Forest Stewardship Program
Provides cost share and resources to have a comprehensive forest management plan prepared to sustain health, vigor, and ecosystem function of the forest.
Landowner Incentive Program
Provides advice, management plans, and funding to create and manage habitat for species that are rare and/or declining.
To find out more information about one of these programs and learn how to enroll, contact your local Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), or Conservation District office:
Allegan Service Center
1668 Lincoln Rd. Allegan, MI 49010-9410
Hastings Service Center
1161 S. Hanover St., Hastings, MI 49058-2579
Berrien Springs Service Center
3334 Edgewood Rd., Berrien Springs, MI 49103-9553
Coldwater Service Center
387 N. Willowbrook Rd., Ste. F, Coldwater, MI 49036-8852
Marshall Service Center
3464 Preston Dr., Marshall, MI 49068-9683
Cassopolis Service Center
1127 E. State St., Cassopolis, MI 49031-9354
Portage Service Center
1911 W. Centre Ave., Portage, MI 49024-5367
St. Joseph County
Centreville Service Center
693 E. Main St., Centreville, MI 49032-9603
Van Buren County
Paw Paw Service Center
1035 E. Michigan Ave., Ste. A, Paw Paw, MI 49079-8698
Take the Long View
Each year the land protection department puts together a newsletter for our conservation easement landowners. In doing so, we hope to strengthen relationships between SWMLC and our CE landowners, serve as a resource for land management ideas, and convey conservation-related news.