Since 1987, the Partners Program has been a successful voluntary partnership program that helps private landowners restore fish and wildlife habitat on their own lands. Through 33,103 agreements with private landowners, the Partners Program has accomplished the restoration of 677,000 acres of wetlands, 1,253,700 acres of prairie and native grasslands, and 5,560 miles of riparian and in-stream habitat.
“As chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a new approach to conservation is especially important to me,” Senator Inhofe said. “All conservation programs should create positive incentives to protect species and, above all, should hold sacred the rights of private landowners. A positive step toward those aims is authorization of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program which has already proven to be an effective habitat conservation program that leverages federal funds and utilizes voluntary private landowner participation.”
In Oklahoma, ninety-seven percent of land is held in private ownership. Since 1990, a total of 124,285 acres in Oklahoma has been restored through 700 individual Partners Program voluntary agreements with private landowners. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service District Office in Tulsa currently reports that at least another 100 private landowners are waiting to enter into Partner's projects as soon as funds become available. Since 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided $3,511,121 to restore habitat in Oklahoma through the Partners Program, to which private landowners have contributed $12,638,272.