Tall Timbers Receives Grant to Control Feral Swine

Tall Timbers received the Florida-Georgia Red Hills Region Pilot Feral Swine Control Grant in July of 2020. This is a joint project between Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Wildlife Services (WS), and Tall Timbers. With funding from NRCS, Tall Timbers’ role is to supply the WS trappers with all necessary supplies for control techniques, conduct research and monitoring, and coordinate workshops and surveys. Wildlife Services is providing trapping services and workshops for Best Management Practice education to landowners and managers.

The purpose of this pilot project is to reduce feral swine (hogs) in the Red Hills Region by at least 75%, with a goal to reduce the physical damage hogs cause by at least 80%. To determine if goals have been achieved, Tall Timbers will monitor:

1. Native wildlife;
2. Water quality, including E. coli source tracing;
3. Feral swine population and control;
4. Economic impacts of feral swine;
5. Native habitat (upland and wetlands) and crop damage.

There are 17 such pilot projects nationwide, including one in the Albany area run by the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District, the Jones Center at Ichauway, and the University of Georgia-Athens. Collaboration between projects will improve outcomes and lessons learned. Ultimately, these pilot projects will inform the development of a nationwide feral swine control program and guidelines, as part of future Farm Bill programs.

At this time in the Red Hills, hog control has occurred on roughly 78,000 acres, starting along the Ochlockonee River heading east, but also moving north and south, following the hog population. In the next several months, the general plan is to move south to Interstate 10, east to the Aucilla River, and north to Thomasville. The goal is to have 90% property participation, so that we don’t have pockets of feral swine as source populations.

Acres being treated by Wildlife Services to control feral swine populations.

Acres being treated by Wildlife Services to control feral swine populations.

To enroll in the program, the land owner and manager will meet with wildlife services’ trappers and Tall Timbers’ staff to outline a mutually-agreeable work plan. All entities in this program understand that this is your private land, and we will be diligent to not get in the way of any of your activities. At the same time, we need to work together to obtain desired results. The landowner will need to allow Wildlife Services staff access to use feral swine control techniques, and Tall Timbers to do the monitoring. Once again, we are very flexible and can accommodate any needs of the property. For more information please contact Eric Staller or 850-508-5458, of Kim Sash or 850-545-3982.

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