Habitat Projects

Farmington River Wildlife Management Area, Berkshires, Massachusetts

Building Habitat Around a Healthy Core

Farmington River Wildlife Management Area straddles the border between the southwestern Massachusetts towns of Otis and Becket. It’s the largest landholding owned and managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) in the Southern Berkshire Focus Area for New England cottontail restoration.

Monterey Preservation Land Trust, Berkshires, Massachusetts

Young Forest Project Delivers Multiple Benefits

Light-loving trees and shrubs, a suite of songbirds, ruffed grouse, deer, black bears – and, conservationists hope, eventually New England cottontails – should all benefit from timber harvests begun in 2014 on Monterey Preservation Land Trust’s 383-acre Mount Hunger property in Berkshire County, western Massachusetts.

Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Maine and New Hampshire

Helping an Iconic Young Forest Species

Foresters and biologists at Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge are using timber harvests to create an ongoing source of young forest for American woodcock and other wild animals that use the same habitat. Not only will the strategically located timber harvests provide cover where woodcock can breed, rear young, and feed, they’ll also perform another important function: teach human visitors to the popular refuge about the importance of young forest for dozens of kinds of North Woods wildlife.

Oneida County, Northcentral Wisconsin

First Steps Toward Improving a Property for Wildlife

Curt Klade, of Brookfield, owns a wooded tract in Oneida County near where he grew up. He and his family and friends often make the 250-mile drive north to spend time on the 74-acre parcel, where they can soak in nature, through hunting, hiking, and looking out for wildlife.

Recently, a mailing from the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership got Klade thinking about what he could do to attract more wild animals to his land.

Narrow River Land Trust, Rhode Island

Land Trust’s Role Includes Actively Managing Habitat

“We know the population of the New England cottontail rabbit has fallen rangewide,” says Gary Casabona, a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) biologist based in Warwick, R.I. “Here in Rhode Island, the species’ decline has been especially dramatic. It’s also been hard to quantify, thanks to a lookalike rabbit, the eastern cottontail, that’s also found across the state.”

Price County, Northcentral Wisconsin

Helping Wildlife While Improving a Recreation Property

Thirteen years ago, Les Strunk bought 77 acres 250 miles north of his Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, home. The property is in northcentral Wisconsin’s Price County near the town of Prentice. Strunk characterizes his land as “a recreation property” and has enrolled it in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Managed Forest Law Program.

Langlade County, Northern Wisconsin

“Accelerated Management” Refreshes an Alder Stand

Peter Ourada and his brother Paul own 80 wooded acres near Antigo in Langlade County. “The property has a 30- to 35-acre swamp grown up with tag alder brush,” Ourada says. “The soil is really wet. I’ve seen grouse in there; they hide out along the edges of the tag alders. I’ve kicked deer out of the swamp in hunting season. I’ve also spotted fishers and woodcock there.”

Weyerhaeuser Company, Northern Maine

Timber Company Committed to Woodcock, Young Forest, and People

When Henning Stabins was a boy, he lived on Cape Cod near a cranberry bog. “I used to get a thrill from going outside at dusk in the spring and listening to the woodcock singing near the bog, and watching their mating flights,” he says. Now a biologist for Weyerhaeuser, a large timber company with extensive holdings in North America, Stabins has maintained his affection for American woodcock and developed considerable skills as a birder, naturalist, and wildlife scientist.

Price County, Northcentral Wisconsin

Young Forests Take "Initiative"

(The following is by Todd and Veronica Berg, from Minocqua, Wisconsin. The Bergs belong to the Ruffed Grouse Society; the article below is adapted from the fall 2015 Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society magazine and is used by permission.)

Avalonia Land Conservancy, Southeastern Connecticut

The Avalonia Land Conservancy holds more than 3,200 acres in eight towns in southeastern Connecticut, most of them in the Ledyard-Coastal Focus Area for New England cottontail restoration. In 2011, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested that the conservancy consider making young forest to help cottontails on two of their parcels.

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