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Agency announces $50M grant to restore wildlife habitat

The United States Department of Agriculture says it will give about $50 million to help agricultural producers who want to restore and protect wildlife habitat for seven species, including the gopher tortoise in Mississippi.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service said in a news release Monday that it’ll invest about $3.4 million on habitat restoration for the pine forest-dwelling gopher tortoise. The species is listed as threatened in the western part of its range under the Endangered Species Act.

Since 2012, NRCS worked with land managers to make conservation improvements to more than 278,000 acres of pine forest, benefiting the gopher tortoise and other species.

Kurt Readus, NRCS State Conservationist for Mississippi, says by managing land with the gopher tortoise, producers can enhance the tortoise’s habitat while also strengthening their agricultural operation


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