Project WINGS: Incentives For Wildlife Habitat Utility Right-of-Ways

"Wildlife Incentives for Nongame and Game Species" program provides payments and expertise to plant utility openings in wildlife foods.

GON Staff | March 2, 2020

Project WINGS (Wildlife Incentives for Nongame and Game Species) is a unique program designed to create new wildlife lands along gas and electrical transmission lines. Offering cash grants and professional wildlife management advice to landowners, WINGS is committed to rights-of-way brush control and habitat improvement.

Electric and gas utility transmission lines span thousands of acres of idle land across Georgia. These corridors vary from 50 to 500 feet in width and must be managed to prevent undesirable growth that could interfere with the normal delivery of power.

Now in its 24th year, Project WINGS is a collaborative effort made possible in part by the participation of Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council, Georgia Power, Atlanta Gas Light, Georgia Transmission Corporation, and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG).

Recognizing the potential these otherwise unusable acres offer wildlife, Project WINGS helps landowners transform rights-of-ways into productive wildlife habitat, ensuring healthier wildlife populations, while providing the safe and efficient delivery of energy to more than 7.5 million Georgians.

“Project WINGS has made it possible for landowners across Georgia to add beauty and to enhance the wildlife habitat on thousands of previously unusable acres,” says Tina Gross, Program Director.

Landowners, leaseholders, hunting clubs, wildlife organizations and others committed to the conversion and management of electrical transmission rights-of-way may apply for a grant through the WINGS program. Applications are accepted May 15 through July 15 of each year at all Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices.

Successful applicants, interested in managing these electrical transmission rights-of-way for a three-year period, can receive cash grants up to $2,250, along with wildlife planning assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. To date, over 3,200 Georgians have received grants, awarded on a competitive basis, to create more than 23,490 acres of new wildlife habitat.

For more information, contact Tina Gross, WINGS Program Director, at 706.885.0101 or email [email protected].


Project WINGS Frequently Asked Questions 

What type of commitment is involved?
Grant recipients have a three-year obligation to follow accepted wildlife practices and prevent the growth of tall brush.   

 How are grant dollars awarded?
Grant awards are based on the amount of rights-of-way to be managed. Monies are paid over three years at a flat rate of $75 per acre per year. Acceptable management practices include: mowing with fallow disking, annual plantings and permanent plantings. The maximum total payment for the three-year contract cannot exceed $2,250 per contract. Grants are paid within 60 days of work completion, as reported by the local NRCS office.

Who develops the wildlife management plan?
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) develops the plan once participants select from a menu of typical wildlife management practices. The plan might include: mowing with fallow disking, permanent wildlife plantings or annual wildlife plantings. Participants choose their own plan by selecting management practices from the menu.

 Can I do the work myself?
Yes, as long as the practice is included in your wildlife management plan prepared by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, it doesn’t matter who performs the labor.

Do I need proof of management expenses?
As long as the practice has been completed and then verified by NRCS, receipts are not necessary.

Can I re-enroll the same acres in the future?
Former WINGS acreage may be re-enrolled provided the original contract was completed and three years have passed since the first contract expired. This renewed eligibility is referred to as the “In three years, out three years rule.’’

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