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New York DEC Launching Study to Improve Wild Turkey Management

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is beginning a new research project on wild turkey survival to help improve the management of this popular game bird, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"Wild turkeys are the most popular small game species in New York among hunters afield," Commissioner Martens said. "The data generated by this study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size to help guide future management of this important game species. I encourage landowners that have wild turkey on their property to consider participating in this study."

Over the past 10 years wild turkey populations have declined in many parts of New York State. In an effort to better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is embarking on a four-year study. This project will provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens, in New York and guide future management efforts.

Beginning in January 2013, DEC will launch a statewide effort to capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands to obtain accurate data on survival and harvest. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio-transmitters. All of the work in New York will be done by DEC personnel on both public and private lands from January through March. The research will be concentrated in DEC Regions 3 through 9 where turkey populations are largest.

From 2006 through 2009, DEC staff worked with hundreds of landowners from across the state to assess harvest and survival of gobblers, male wild turkeys. Many landowners actively participated in the gobbler survival project or provided reports of winter turkey flocks. With that important project completed, DEC is once again looking for landowners interested in helping with the new study focused on hen survival.

DEC is looking for landowners in DEC Regions 3 through 9 interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land, as well as alerting project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will immediately be released unharmed at the same location. Observations of turkey flocks during January through March can be reported to the project coordinator for that region or can be reported using the Winter Flock Survey form found on DEC's website.

This release was produced by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Posted by Matt Cimitile: January 08, 2013

Longleaf Pine Restoration Grants Available to Landowners

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) is now accepting applications through its Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) to continue longleaf pine restoration efforts in Alabama. LIP funding is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is available to qualifying landowners for longleaf pine restoration on private lands.

Landowners are encouraged to submit applications to receive assistance with site preparation, seedlings, planting, native grass restoration and/or exotic control costs.  This program is focused on longleaf pine ecosystem restoration for the benefit of wildlife species in greatest conservation need.  Currently, applications are being accepted for 50/50 cost share on-site preparation, containerized longleaf pine trees, and planting. All applications will undergo a competitive ranking process.

For an application and program information, contact Traci Wood at 334-353-0503 or visit www.outdooralabama.com/research-mgmt/Landowner/LIP/. The deadline for LIP applications is March 1, 2013. 

Eligibility requirements are that the property must have suitable soils for planting longleaf, be held under private ownership, have a 15-acre minimum for reforestation, and fall within the following counties: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Mobile, Monroe, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa and Washington. 

LIP funds are administered to complement WFF habitat restoration goals of the longleaf pine ecosystem.  This program provides financial and/or technical assistance to private landowners to conserve, manage or enhance the habitats of species in greatest conservation need associated with Alabama’s longleaf pine ecosystem.

This release was produced by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Posted by Matt Cimitile: January 08, 2013

RGS Works with Others to Expand Marinette County Habitat Management Area

Representatives of project partners join together to officially open the new West Unit of the Pike River Ruffed Grouse Management Area on the Marinette County Forest.

The popular Pike River Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Management Area, south of Dunbar in Marinette County, has been expanded by an additional 500 acres thanks to the cooperation of several organizations interested in increasing opportunities for ruffed grouse and woodcock. The original 1675 acre management area was established in 1988 as a cooperative project between the Marinette County Forestry and Parks Department, the land manager’s of the area, and the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS).

In 2010, the Dunbar Sportsmen’s Club presented a proposal to expand the Pike River area to the west, as the area had additional habitat management potential and could provide additional opportunities for recreational hunting.

Funding and equipment for this project has been provided by RGS, Dunbar Sportsmen’s Club and US Fish and Wildlife Service under its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.  These groups have worked closely with the Marinette County Forestry Department and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during the development of this project.

As noted by Mark Grandaw, board member of the Dunbar Sportsmen’s Club, “Our club is proud to be a part of this project.  It is only with the support of these many organizations that we have been able to conduct this valuable habitat improvement work on the Marinette County Forest.”

RGS Biologist Gary Zimmer states, “Over the past two years a new looped walking trail was established in the expanded area along with a new parking area.  In addition, pockets of upland alder were sheared to regenerate habitat specifically for woodcock and existing openings were maintained to improve both spring breeding sites for woodcock and summer brood rearing habitat for ruffed grouse.”

Work is not finished in the area as the Marinette County Forestry Department plans to regenerate aspen stands through timber harvests in the next few years.  This will provide additional habitat for ruffed grouse and woodcock in the area as the stands regenerate.

Ruffed grouse and woodcock are dependent on young forest habitats that provide the secure cover they need to escape from predators.  This type of habitat requires periodic disturbance of some form in order to remain quality habitat for these birds. Woodcock in particular key in on dense habitat in the vicinity of moist soil areas where they can find earthworms, their primary food source.

This article was produced by the Ruffed Grouse Society.
Posted by Matt Cimitile: January 01, 2013

Guidebook Offers Insight on Reducing Bird Collisions with Power Lines

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Avian Power Line
Interaction Committee (APLIC) today released their updated
state-of-the-art guidance document Reducing Avian Collisions with Power
Lines: State of the Art in 2012.  This manual, originally published in
1994, identifies best practices and provides specific guidance to help
electric utilities and cooperatives, federal power administrations,
wildlife agencies and other stakeholders reduce bird collisions with power

The Service worked with APLIC, a voluntary partnership among the utility
industry, wildlife resource agencies, conservation groups, and
manufacturers of avian protection products, to revise the guidance using
the most current published science and technical information.

"This updated guidance provides state-of-the-art guidance to help
utilities and regulators site, design, and operate power lines and other
electrical infrastructure to reduce bird injury and mortality from power
line and infrastructure collisions, ensure compliance with Federal
conservation laws and enhance the reliability of electrical energy
delivery, " said Service Director Dan Ashe.  "The cooperative effort
between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Avian Power Line Interaction
Committee exemplifies what we can achieve when we work together for

On behalf of APLIC, Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn said, “As
electric utility investment in the nation’s power grid continues to
increase, so too does the need to reduce bird injury and death from power
lines.  The industry’s commitment and efforts to work with the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service are contributing effective methods for reducing
collisions.  We encourage all stakeholders to use this new guidebook and
benefit from its invaluable advice.”

"APLIC-member utilities and the Service have had a long history of working
together to find practical solutions to minimize avian impacts from power
line construction and operations," said PacifiCorp Avian Program Manager
and APLIC Chair Sherry Liguori.  “This updated collision manual edition,
along with the 2006 Electrocution Manual, the 2005 Avian Protection Plan
Guidelines, and Edison Electric Institute’s 2001 Introduction to Public
Participation, provides utilities with a toolbox of the latest technology,
science, expertise, and field experience."

Since the early 1970s, the electric utility industry, wildlife resource
agencies including the Service, conservation groups, universities, and
manufacturers of avian protection products have worked together to
understand the causes of bird-power line collisions and electrocutions,
and to develop ways of preventing bird mortalities, as well as associated
power outages.  APLIC leads the electric utility industry in protecting
avian resources, while enhancing reliable energy delivery, and is often
cited as the example of a partnership that works well for the industry,
the agencies, the conservation community, and the power consumers.

Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines was first published by APLIC
and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) in 1994 under the title Mitigating
Bird Collisions with Power Lines, as a comprehensive review of avian
collisions with power lines and recommendations for minimizing them.  The
2012 version was co-authored by several U.S. utilities and a Canadian
utility; wildlife biologists from the Service, the USDA Rural Utilities
Service, and the U.S. Department of Energy; and representatives from the
consulting firm Normandeau Associates. A companion document, Suggested
Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines, was published by APLIC and
the Service in 2006.

Both guidance documents, as well as other materials for reducing bird
collisions with power lines are available at www.aplic.org.

This release was produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Posted by Matt Cimitile: December 21, 2012

Farmers and Ranchers Reach 50M-Acres in Voluntary USDA Conservation Program

In just four years, America’s top conservationists have enrolled 50 million acres in USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners take conservation to the next level.

CSP is aimed at producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.

“Farmers and ranchers throughout the country are making USDA’s voluntary Conservation Stewardship Program a major force for conservation,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The protection of natural resources through conservation programs such as CSP create outdoor and wildlife recreation opportunities that provide crucial jobs and bolster economic growth in rural American communities." 

The land enrolled in CSP totals more than 78,000 square miles, an area larger than Pennsylvania and South Carolina combined, making the program one of the largest voluntary conservation programs for private lands offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Nearly 12.2 million acres, or 18,750 square miles, were added to the program’s rolls this year.

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP. NRCS local offices accept CSP applications year round and evaluate applications during announced ranking periods.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types. It is available from local NRCS offices and on the CSP website:  http://go.usa.gov/g9dx.

This release was produced by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Posted by Matt Cimitile: December 19, 2012

Landowners, Business Partners, NRCS Honored for Habitat Restoration Efforts

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recognized individuals and groups for their wildlife habitat work at an awards banquet held at the Salato Wildlife Education Center.

Landowners, business partners and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservationists were recently honored for their wildlife habitat restoration efforts by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

"Each year, we recognize individuals and groups in each of the five wildlife regions based on their habitat management work, community outreach, and recreational opportunities," said Wildlife Division Director Karen Waldrop.

"We would also like to acknowledge three of our partners from the NRCS, who work to ensure that Kentucky's private lands are managed responsibly for each of us to enjoy," she continued. "NRCS has proven to be a valuable asset in promoting and implementing the conservation programs that restore wildlife habitat."

Winners were announced at an awards banquet held at the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort Dec. 7.

Landowner of the Year

Edward Anthony

Edward Anthony, of Paducah, Ky., manages more than 800 acres in Ballard and McCracken counties. He enrolled his entire 472-acre farm in McCracken County into the Wetlands Reserve Program. His Ballard County properties greatly benefit waterfowl because they are managed as wetland-bottomland hardwood forests. Anthony allows students from Murray State University to use his property as an outdoor lab and he allows family and friends to hunt on his farms. He was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Kevin Tucker.
Landowner Regional Winners

Chess Riddle, Green River Region

Chess Riddle, of Madisonville, Ky., manages 650 acres in Muhlenberg County. He has enrolled 125 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program and hosted a prescribed fire field day on his property, using controlled burning to enhance grassland habitat for bobwhite quail. Friends and family are encouraged to use his property for hunting. He was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Thomas Young.

Hank Whitman, Bluegrass Region

Hank Whitman, of Nicholasville, Ky., manages 363 acres in Fayette County. He uses the Conservation Reserve Program to establish riparian buffers and wildlife corridors to connect key habitats together. He has planted more than 5,000 native hardwood trees on his property and manages his open land for bobwhite quail and other small game. He allows youth to hunt on his property. He was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Clay Smitson,

Jeff Bunch, Northeast Region

Jeff Bunch, of Taylor Mill, Ky., owns more than 360 acres in Mason County. He has worked to eradicate invasive bush honeysuckle from 240 acres of his woodlands. He manages his open land for rabbits and has established numerous brush piles and mineral licks. He also encourages his neighbors to manage the wildlife habitat on their properties and allows family and friends to hunt on his farm. He was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Wes Mattox.

Herb Davis Sr., Southeast Region

Herb Davis Sr., of Dunville, Ky., manages 956 acres in Casey and Taylor counties for deer, turkey, waterfowl and small game. He has completed more than 150 acres of timber stand improvement; planted more than 125 acres of native grasses; created several shallow water wetlands; and has used controlled burning to mange open lands. Davis is seen as a conservation leader by many in the community. He was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Chris Mason.

Business of the Year

Loretto Motherhouse

The Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., owns 780 acres property in Marion County. The working farm is a model property for wildlife management: the owners have planted thousands of trees and converted hundreds of acres to native grasses. The Motherhouse also hosts an annual deer hunt for local youths and adults. The group was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Jason Nally.

Business Regional Winners

Livingston County Fiscal Court, Purchase Region

Livingston County Fiscal Court in Smithland, Ky., manages 2,433 acres of property that was purchased using Land Heritage grants. The property is within the boundary of the Livingston County Quail Focus Area. It is open to public hunting. The agency was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Pat Brandon.

Cumberland Woodlands Inc., Southeast Region

Cumberland Woodlands Inc., based in Stanford, Ky., manages multiple properties totaling more than 10,000 acres across southeastern Kentucky. The business emphasizes forestland improvement. Their 1,500-acre Cumberland County property serves as a hunting lease for Hope for Heroes, a group which helps disabled veterans get back into the outdoors. The business was nominated by Wildlife
Biologist Chris Mason

Catlettsburg Refining LLC, Northeast Region

Catlettsburg Refining LLC of Catlettsburg, Ky., manages 360 acres in Boyd County, including the Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve. The business manages woodlands and open land for wildlife, and includes a wildflower-pollinator area. Hundreds of students visit the property each year to learn about the outdoors and wildlife management. The business was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Harley Weaver.

NRCS Conservationist of the Year

Kurt Mason

Kurt Mason, whose office is in Louisville, Ky., provides wildlife habitat management consultation to individuals, groups, businesses, development firms and governments. In the past three years, he has helped establish more than 5,800 acres of wildlife habitat in the counties where he works. Mason currently serves on several boards and councils aimed at managing environmental resources. He was nominated by Farm Bill Biologist Terri Estes, Wildlife Biologist Jason Nally and Farm Bill-Wildlife Biologist Danny Hughes.

NRCS Regional Winners

Craig Givens, NRCS Area 1

Craig Givens, whose office is in Russellville, Ky., has been instrumental in promoting the Conservation Reserve Program and the Wetland Reserve Program in the counties that he covers. He has worked with numerous other agencies to promote wildlife habitat management on working lands and enjoys the outdoors as an avid angler. He was nominated by Farm Bill Biologist Tyler Reagan and Farm Bill-Wildlife Biologist Danny Hughes.

Greta Steverson, NRCS Area 3

Greta Steverson, whose office is in Burlington, Ky., is the lead district conservationist for seven northern Kentucky counties, where she has worked with department biologists to improve wildlife habitat. She also leads or participates in several committees and groups within NRCS in Kentucky. She was nominated by Wildlife Biologist Zak Danks.

This news article was published by the Kentucky Departement of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Posted by Matt Cimitile: December 19, 2012

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