Seven projects benefiting ruffed grouse and American woodcock habitat in Pennsylvania have been selected by the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) and its sister organization the American Woodcock Society (AWS) to receive $45,000 during 2015 through the Pennsylvania Drummer Fund program. These projects will improve habitat on 2,577 acres and include the following partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) Parks Division, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC).
“The Ruffed Grouse Society has a strong and storied history of supporting healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other forest wildlife in Pennsylvania, and we are very pleased to continue significant plans to impact this habitat in 2015 through the Pennsylvania Drummer Fund program. This impact could not occur without the generous time, talents and resources of our chapters, volunteers and members who understand the importance of preserving habitat, wildlife populations and sporting traditions for the future,” said RGS and AWS President and CEO John Eichinger.
The Pennsylvania Drummer Fund was initiated in 2010 and is the direct result of funds being raised at RGS and AWS chapter fundraising events and through direct member donations. Since its inception, nearly $200,000 has been made available through the Pennsylvania Drummer Fund to support Pennsylvania grouse and woodcock-related projects. These funds have been matched by other agencies and organizations and have resulted in nearly $1 million worth of projects being funded in Pennsylvania since 2010.
“The efforts of local chapters and supporters are essential to the future of wildlife resources in Pennsylvania, and it is important to focus those efforts on targeted habitat projects within the state,” added RGS and AWS Regional Wildlife Biologist Dr. Linda Ordiway. “Our chapters have developed longstanding relationships with all agency partners and private forest industry in Pennsylvania, and with those relationships, landscape-scale projects are getting developed and implemented.”
Pennsylvania Drummer Fund projects approved for 2015 include (project title/chapter and partners):
M.K. Goddard State Park/Allegheny Northwoods – WMI, PA DCNR, PGC
Raystown Lake/Red Brush – ACE
Pymatuning State Park/French Creek Valley – WMI, PA DCNR
Erie National Wildlife Refuge/Allegheny Northwoods – WMI, USFWS
Blue Marsh/Charles E. Bechtel and Delaware Valley – ACE, PGC
State Game Lands 73/Thunderbird – PGC
State Game Lands 91/Northeastern Pennsylvania – PGC
Projects of note include the M.K. Goddard State Park project in Mercer County, Pennsylvania that is part of the Lower Great Lakes Young Forest Initiative. The M.K. Goddard project management plan was developed in 2010-11 and funded by a $10,000 RGS Drummer Fund grant to restore 100 acres of once high-quality woodcock habitat. The short-term results at this project site have been encouraging through the annual American woodcock singing ground surveys conducted under USFWS protocol with significant increases since management activities commenced.
The State Game Lands 73 project in Bedford County, Pennsylvania near Loysburg is part of the Refuge Keepers Grouse Management Area and has been actively supported by three Drummer Fund grants totaling over $20,000. Land Manager Jonathon Zuck continues to manage the over 600-acre unit using multiple block regeneration cuts using both commercial and non-commercial timber harvests. These cuts are supplemented by fruiting shrub plantings and reclamation of harvest disturbance in a legume mixture. His management has resulted in a mosaic of multi-aged stands beneficial for many wildlife species.
News release by the Ruffed Grouse Society.