New coordinator for FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife program

LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) - This summer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appointed Joseph Krystofik to be the state coordinator for its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Arkansas.
      Krystofik, who works out of the FWS's Ecological Services Field Office in Conway, previously served as the agency's farm bill coordinator and has been serving as the acting state coordinator since January. "I'm very excited and grateful to have been selected for this position," Krystofik said.
      The Partners Program is a great tool for restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat and can work independently or supplement other conservation programs, Krystofik explained. "I'm anxious to work with our existing partners to strengthen and enhance these partnerships, and to forge new ones with all individuals and organizations interested in conserving our state's natural resources," he said.
      The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is a voluntary program that restores, improves and protects fish and wildlife habitat on private land and has cost share funding for bottomland hardwood tree planting, wetland restoration, prairie restoration, riparian buffers, water control structures, and more. In addition, PFW Biologists provide technical assistance and help landowners locate funding through other conservation programs.
      The PFW program is a valuable tool in our private lands toolbox for landowners and another opportunity to receive financial assistance to restore critical wildlife habitat, AGFC Private Lands Coordinator and Agricultural Liaison David Long says. "Our private lands biologists use this program to increase habitat restoration where other programs don't fit or in conjunction with other programs. Many landowners may fall though the crack in qualifying for other programs but will qualify for the PFW program if they agree to the provisions of the program and desire to restore important habitat," Long says.       As state PFW coordinator, Krystofik will work closely with the other FWS Private Lands Biologists working in Arkansas, as well as Arkansas Game and Fish Commission private lands biologists and other state agency and resource organization biologists. The Partners Program is a great supplement to other conservation programs, according to Krystofik. "While it doesn't have the monetary incentives of some of the USDA conservation programs, it has greater flexibility regarding eligibility requirements."
      For more information on the PFW Program or to how to apply, interested landowners should contact one of the program staff: Joe Krystofik, State Partners for Fish and Wildlife Coordinator, Conway, 501-513-4479; Jon Wessman, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Lonoke, 501-676-3122 or Michael Budd, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Parkdale, 870-473-2869.