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Landowner Relations Program

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Program Overview
 
The Arizona Game and Fish Department's Landowner Relations Program is responsible for coordinating habitat improvement projects on private lands within Arizona.

The program has two primary objectives:
1 To assist private landowners and land management agencies with projects that enhance wildlife populations and habitats.
2 To protect or acquire access to public and state trust lands ensuring continued recreational opportunities for the citizens of Arizona.

Assistance can include:
- Cost-share funds for materials and labor for wildlife projects.
- Technical assistance to design and implement projects.
- Public information signs and access materials such as gates and cattle guards.
- Working with private landowners to establish long-term wildlife management objectives.
- Working with private landowners and public land management agencies to provide access to federal and state trust lands. For example, establishing perpetual easements into public or state trust lands in return for mutually beneficial projects like those described above.

A variety of project funding sources are available through the program. The Landowner Relations Program can recommend which would be most appropriate for a landowner's specific situation. In many cases funding can be matched by federal dollars, or a project can be accomplished using volunteer labor. Most projects on private lands require multiple funding sources to establish the greatest improvements.
 
Habitat Development for "at-risk" Species - More
Several funding sources are available for developing or enhancing habitat for at-risk species. Some funds can be used on state trust or federal lands, but most of them target projects on private property.

Which species are eligible? Any species that is considered at risk because of current and historical population trends is eligible. The department has developed an extensive list of at-risk species. It includes nongame, game, furbearers, and threatened and endangered species.

What types of improvements are eligible? Generally, a landowner works with a representative of the Arizona Game and Fish Department to develop a long-term wildlife habitat improvement project. Some examples include wetland and riparian area restoration, vegetative manipulations, and conservation easements.
 
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Public Access - More
The purpose of this fund is to ensure recreational access routes to public land. The funding helps landowners with wildlife habitat and ranch improvements in return for a perpetual or short-term easement to allow public access to federal or state trust lands.

What land is eligible? Improvement projects can be placed on either private or public land. An access easement can be granted only on deeded private property.

What types of improvements are eligible? Most types of mutually beneficial wildlife/livestock improvements are eligible. Examples include installing water catchments and pipelines, improving range, fencing riparian areas, and removing pinyon and juniper.
 
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Big Game Habitat Development - More
These monies are derived from hunter donations and the sale of special tags. The funding is targeted toward improving habitat or populations of deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, javelina, turkey and elk.

What land is eligible? These projects are accomplished on federal, State Trust, and deeded property throughout the state. Due to the nature of this funding source, public access to these project sites is a requirement.

What types of improvements are eligible? The funding must be used to improve or create habitat for Arizona's big game species. Examples include establishing forage and browse plants, creating elk crossings, and removing pinyon and juniper.

Any proposal must show a positive cost/benefit analysis to the people of Arizona. Benefits usually are demonstrated by increased hunter recreation or increased wildlife production or viewing opportunities.
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Cost-Share Opportunities - More
In many instances landowners and the Arizona Game and Fish Department may be able to combine efforts and funds with other department programs and with cost-share and grant opportunities offered by other agencies, such as the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and private nonprofit conservation groups.
 
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Partnership Opportunities
The Landowner Relations Program has established two partnership opportunities to enhance relationships between landowners and outdoor recreationists and alleviate problems associated with public access on private lands.

Landowner/Sportsman Respect - More
Also known as the "Respect Program," this voluntary arrangement is designed to help improve sportsman ethics. Department personnel will work with any landowner who is experiencing public use problems to install sign-in/sign-out stations and informational and regulatory signs.

Adopt-A-Ranch - More
Conservation organizations, scout troops, 4-wheel clubs, and other groups can volunteer to "adopt" a ranch and work directly with landowners to perform regular ranch maintenance activities. Their contributions help to mitigate problems associated with public access for recreation purposes. If your organization would like to volunteer, please contact the Landowner Relations Program.
 
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How to Get Involved

If you are a landowner and would like more information on the Landowner Relations Program and how you can be involved, please contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Landowner Relations Program
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000
Program Manager, Al Eiden
(623) 236-7624

aeiden@azgfd.gov

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