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by Casey Stemler/USFWS

Closing Out and Looking Ahead

As we wrap up another year, I trust you can look back on 2014 and identify a number of things for which you are thankful. I hope the top of your list includes your health, family, and friends! Then, may you reflect on your 2014 career accomplishments and feel a sense of pride and fulfillment. As I look at 2014, through the lens of the PPJV Coordinator, I’m most thankful for our committed partners who ARE the PPJV and for the many supporters of prairie conservation. I’m thankful for the increased attention and funding directed at the prairies for habitat implementation – it has made a difference as partners protected, enhanced, or restored well over 150,000 acres of wetland and grassland habitat this year.

The drastic changes occurring on the prairie landscape are eye opening to see firsthand. However, everyone working on and supporting prairie conservation can hold their heads high knowing meaningful habitat conservation was delivered in 2014.

The challenge in 2015 and beyond is to sustain or expand this level of conservation effort, while also advancing innovative approaches to grassland and wetland protection. Even more exciting, however, is the challenge of working more closely with farmers and our USDA partners to discover practices that work well within farming operations, and provide greater ecosystem services and wildlife benefits.

In this issue of the PPJV e-newsletter, our “Partner Profile” is focused on one of our invaluable state partners, South Dakota Department of Game Fish, and Parks (SDGFP). The SDGFP does an outstanding job working with willing landowners to improve and expand quality habitat and access to recreational opportunities. Their James River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is a shining example of these efforts. Our next story continues our coverage of pollinators. PJV partner Minnesota Department of Natural Resources takes pollinator issues seriously, as does their state legislature. Another story in this edition provides the reader with an update on the revision of the PPJV Implementation Plan. For migratory bird joint ventures, our implementation plan isn’t just another document, but rather the tool that directly guides our work. Lastly, you will find an announcement about the new PPJV fact sheet and how to access a copy!

Please enjoy your holiday season! May it be safe, memory-filled, and simply delightful!

Casey Stemler, PPJV Coordinator