The POWRR program intends to increase opportunities for public access by compensating landowners for opening their lands for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation. This opportunity can provide landowners with not only increase income for the use of their property, but also provide funding to implement wildlife habitat management practices.
The program is only available for privately-owned lands. Lands owned by federal, state or local governments are not eligible. Individuals and corporations may apply. The DWR is looking to lease both large and small parcels of land. Larger parcels will provide general access for a variety of outdoor recreation. Smaller parcels that offer key access to prime opportunities are also of interest. For example, a small parcel could provide excellent boating access, a productive dove hunting field or be the perfect addition to the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail (VBWT).
Options Available for Enrolling a Property
Cash incentives will be paid to landowners who sign an annual agreement for enrollment in the program. For most types of access, compensation will be determined on a per acre basis. Compensation rates will vary depending on the property and types of access allowed. Each property will be evaluated based on the value of potential recreational opportunities
General categories of types of access will include:
- Properties open to all types of allowable access (hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife-watching, boating, etc.), on a year-round basis
- Properties open to a specific types of access or activity (year-round or seasonally)
- Elk viewing
- Boating access
- Fishing access
- Dove hunting
- Wildlife Viewing
Habitat Management Options
Funding the implementation of habitat management practices is a component of the VPA-HIP funding and POWRR program. This funding is only available on property that is providing public access through the VPA-HIP. Biologists will evaluate habitats on each enrolled property and make recommendations for habitat enhancement. DWR may pay the landowner to complete the habitat work, or hire a local contractor. Typical wildlife habitat improvements will include removal of invasive and non-native shrubs or 0ther ground cover followed by planting of perennial native grasses and other plants that benefit wildlife. Annual crops (food plots) will not be provided under this grant.
Requirements of the Landowner
- Properties enrolled in the POWRR program will have posted rules governing access to and use of the property including, but not limited to, regulations governing hunting and fishing.
- Posted rules could include:
- No camping
- No ATV/UTV used by the public
- Restricted weapon types (if safety concerns exist)
- Restricted access in certain areas of the property (if safety concerns exist)
- Posted rules could include:
- Because the VPA-HIP is funding through NRCS, all habitat management practices shall be implemented and maintained in accordance with NRCS requirements.
Process and Timeline for Enrolling a Property
- Landowner fills out and submits an application
- Site visit from DWR staff to evaluate property and develop an access, infrastructure and habitat management plan (infrastructure and/or habitat management plan may not be needed/developed on all properties)
- DWR staff review property evaluation and management plans to determine acceptance into POWRR program
- Public Access Lease agreement is developed and approved by landowner and DWR
- Needed infrastructure is implemented on the property (parking lots, safety zone marking, gates, signs, etc.)
- Public Access is opened on the property