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Forest Stand Improvement and Bird Surveys in Kentucky

The Kentucky Warbler is a species of Greatest Conservation Need in Kentucky; photo by Jim Rathert.

Through various granting sources, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is actively planning and implementing “Forest Stand Improvement” (FSI) on many of their Wildlife Management Areas throughout the state. The goal is to improve forest habitat for Species of Greatest Conservation Need listed in Kentucky’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), by providing structural diversity within mature stands, encouraging oak regeneration, removing invasive/exotic species, and providing early successional habitat. In 2010, KDFWR conducted FSI surveys at two WMAs in the AMJV: Paintsville Lake and Fishtrap Lake. FSI will occur at these WMAs during the fall and winters of…
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Habitat Management, Research and Monitoring at Monongahela National Forest

Golden-winged Warbler habitat range allotment on the Monongahela National Forest; photo by K. Aldinger

Managers at the Monongahela National Forest (MNF) in West Virginia are continuing their emphasis on managing early successional habitat (ESH) for multiple species, focusing on sensitive non-game species like Golden-winged Warbler as well as game species such as the Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock, and Wild Turkey. MNF is continuing its partnership with West Virginia University and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources in studying the effects of ESH manipulation on Golden-winged Warblers as part of a broader, range-wide research program for the species. While ESH is uncommon on the Forest and is in decline throughout the species’ range, results…
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AMJV Receives $8 Million RCPP Award to Enhance Cerulean Warbler Habitat

Cerulean Warbler; photo Frode Jacobsen.

A project proposal from the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture (AMJV) Partnership was one of 115 high-impact projects to receive in total more than $370 million as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement project will allow partners to work with private landowners to enhance 12,500 acres of forest habitat on private lands for Cerulean Warblers and other wildlife. Approximately 1,000 acres of reclaimed mine lands will also be restored using American Chestnut plantings.

The 5-year project will be modeled after the Natural Resources Conservation Service Working Lands for Wildlife program for Golden-winged Warblers, using the Cerulean Warbler Habitat…
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Habitat Restoration and Management Efforts in Tennessee

Brown-headed Nuthatch, a high priority species, was also a surprise find as they have not been previously recorded on the Centennial Wilderness or State Park; photo by Ted Tucker.

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) has been partnering with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the Tennessee Division of State Natural Areas since 2007 to restore habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler and other important wildlife species in the Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area (HCCSNA). This area is an important IBA within the Highlands of Roan conservation initiative and within the AMJV’s “Southern Blue Ridge Forest Block” Bird Habitat Conservation Area. TWRA project leader Scott Dykes and his crew are enhancing habitat on the forest edge through selective bulldozer operations followed by native warm and cold season grass…
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Birds and Burns in the Central Appalachians Fire Learning Network

Fireline patrol at the prescribed burn at Blue Suck Preserve; photo Sam Lindblom.

The Central Appalachians Fire Learning Network (FLN) partners burned over 36,000 acres in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania to meet objectives that benefit AMJV priorities. Burns were conducted on several new partner lands this year, including Douthat State Park in Virginia, New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, and Bethlehem (Water) Authority lands in Pennsylvania. Several large-scale burns were conducted over multiple days allowing for slow-paced and deliberate firing operations and longer resonance times on the landscape. The majority of these burns were implemented to benefit early successional/shrubland communities (American Woodcock, Golden-winged Warbler, Ruffed Grouse), mature hardwood/mixed forest communities (Cerulean
Warbler, Wood Thrush, Worm-eating Warbler) and open pine communities…
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Conserving through Science-based Research, Education, and Outreach

Habitat sampling in Golden-winged territories in North Carolina; photo by Ed Burress.

The mission of the National Audubon Society’s North Carolina State Office is to help conserve and restore the North Carolina (NC) habitats people share with all wildlife, focusing on the needs of birds. Audubon North Carolina achieves its mission through a blend of science-based research and conservation, education and outreach, and advocacy. The organization had many accomplishments this year for forest birds, including:

Golden-winged Warbler/Early Successional Habitat

Completed fourth year of demographic, genetics, and population distribution work in western NC. Located several nests, completed territorial vegetation sampling, and collected genetic samples from >40 birds.... Read more >>

Mapping Red Spruce Forest in the Southern Blue Ridge Ecoregion

Spruce restoration monitoring; photo NCWRC.

The Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (SASRI) is developing a restoration plan for Red Spruce in the Southern Blue Ridge ecoregion, an area covering 9.4 million acres including parts of
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Except for several public land areas, the current extent and condition of red spruce stands in the region is not well documented. The development of an accurate and consistent map of red spruce on all public and private lands was identified as an important early step in the restoration planning process. In 2014, the Nature Conservancy supported a geospatial mapping project to complete this task. Imagery was collected by state…
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Golden-winged Warbler Survey and Monitoring Efforts in North Carolina

Photo by Chris Kelly.

In a coordinated effort of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), Audubon North Carolina, and the US Forest Service, two Golden-winged Warbler survey and monitoring efforts were undertaken in 2010: monitoring using official Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project (GOWAP) points and conducting new surveys of timber harvest units on the Nantahala National Forest. The latter was prompted by the under-representation of regenerating forest in the official GOWAP point network for North Carolina. In all, 62 surveys were conducted, with 17 Golden-winged Warblers and three Blue-winged Warblers observed in spring 2010.

The efforts involved NCWRC’s Wildlife Diversity program…
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New Study Looks at Future of Appalachian Energy Development

The Appalachians are a landscape of high biological diversity and rich in energy resources; photo AppLCC.

A new study and online mapping tool released by the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and The Nature Conservancy provides needed information to inform discussions
among conservation organizations, policy makers, regulators, industry, and the public on how to protect essential natural resources while realizing the benefits of increased domestic energy production. The study and online mapping tool were developed by Nature Conservancy researchers through a grant from the Appalachian LCC. The research assessed energy development potential and trends of wind, shale gas, and coal and yielded a tool that shows where these may overlap with important natural resources and associated benefits, such as municipal drinking water supplies, giving a…
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Acquisitions and Easements in 2010

Short Hills Wildlife Management Area; photo by VDGIF

50,000 Acre Goal Met
By the end of 2010, the Blue Ridge Forever coalition of nine land trusts exceeded its 5 year campaign goal to protect 50,000 acres in Western North Carolina. Through their work with willing landowners, the land trusts worked to ensure that critical lands were protected for clean drinking water, recreation, tourism, working farms, and of course birds and other wildlife. Many of these newly protected lands tie together large tracts of existing public lands, conserve sensitive high elevation communities, and preserve spectacular vistas of the Southern Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge Forever’s land…
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