Grassland Set-aside Stewardship Program
The Grassland Set-aside Stewardship Program encourages farmers to plant fields with grasses and clover to restore the soil. The fields are “fallowed” for up to 4 years. Grassland set-asides benefit farming and wildlife by:
- Providing habitats for wildlife including grassland raptors, wading birds, songbirds, small mammals, and pollinating insects
- Improving soil fertility by increasing organic matter in the soil
- Helping farmers transition to organic production by spanning the 3-year certification period
Grassland set-asides support high densities of the Townsend’s Vole, a small native mammal that is prey for a variety of raptors and wading birds. Set-asides also provide roosting habitat for ground-perching raptors, such as the Northern Harrier and Short-eared Owl.
A Grassland Set-aside in west Delta looks like an ordinary field of tall grass…
…but small mammals like the Townsend’s vole build extensive tunnels under the grassy cover…
…and become prey for a diversity of raptors, like this Short-eared Owl.