BANGOR (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set a goal of enrolling 1,000 acres in northern Penobscot County and Aroostook County in a new program seeking to boost populations of at-risk grassland birds.

Grassland bird species have declined significantly in the region during past 30 years as a result of habitat loss from development, forest growth and agricultural practices, according to the USDA.

Maine’s Farm Service Agency is also seeking to enroll 250 acres in York and Cumberland counties to re-establish habitat for the New England cottontail.

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