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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 indicate that low intensity livestock grazing allotments can be successfully managed to provide habitat for Golden-winged Warblers and other ESH bird species on high-elevation sites.

Results have provided MNF with management guidance for these areas. In 2010, habitat management was implemented on over 300 acres of the MNF’s range allotments known to support Golden-winged Warblers. Over 1,500 acres of additional ESH were also managed on the MNF using a variety of techniques to benefit both game and non-game species, with annual breeding bird point count surveys, Ruffed Grouse drumming surveys, and Woodcock singing ground surveys conducted to assess the results of management.