Record Habitat Funding in Wisconsin from RGS/AWS

By Jane Fyksen, Agriview

Ruffed grouse, American woodcock, golden-winged warblers and numerous other wildlife species require regenerating forest stands that develop following timber harvests and other forest-management activities. The Ruffed Grouse Society and its sister organization the American Woodcock Society are providing $80,340 through the Wisconsin Drummer Fund to 15 projects in Wisconsin that will enhance young forest wildlife habitat and increase hunter access to prime hunting areas.

American woodcock

American woodcock will find more young forest habitat in Wisconsin thanks to management projects funded by the Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society./E. Dresser

Partners will bring an additional $130,000 to complete these projects, resulting in more than $210,000 in forest habitat improvements during 2016.

More than 880 acres will be directly enhanced. Funds used to support expanded landowner outreach efforts and forest access-road improvements will indirectly support habitat improvements on thousands of additional acres. More than 45 miles of hunter walking trails will also be created or enhanced with the funds.

To accomplish the projects, RGS/AWS will partner with the U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Class ACT Charter School in Park Falls, the counties of Price, Ashland and Bayfield, and the Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council.

The Wisconsin Drummer Fund was initiated in 2010 to let RGS/AWS funnel funds raised at chapter events, and through direct member donations, to proactive forest conservation work in Wisconsin. Since then, more than $376,000 has been made available to support 85 Wisconsin young-forest-related projects, enhancing an estimated 8,704 acres of habitat and improving hundreds of miles of hunter walking trails. The funds have been matched by other agencies and organizations, resulting in more than $1 million worth of projects being funded in Wisconsin since 2010. This year marks the sixth straight year for record funding levels under the program.

Wisconsin Drummer Fund Projects approved for 2016 include:

  • Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership — 21 northern Wisconsin counties and 13 partner organizations
  • Wildlife Openings and Hunter Walking Trails — Taylor and Price counties – U.S. Forest Service
  • White River Wildlife Area Aspen and Alder Regeneration — Ashland County, Ashland County, and Wisconsin DNR
  • Trott Hunter Walking Trail Rehabilitation — Ashland County, Ashland County Forest and Recreation Department
  • Ruffed Grouse Habitat Management and Enhancement — Forest County, U.S. Forest Service
  • C.D. Besadny Fish and Wildlife Area Grouse and Woodcock Habitat — Kewaunee County, Wisconsin DNR
  • Marathon County Alder Regeneration — Marathon County, Wisconsin DNR and Marathon County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
  • School Forest Ruffed Grouse Project — Ashland County, Class ACT Charter School, and Ashland County Forest and Recreation Department
  • Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area Trail Enhancement — Oneida County, Wisconsin DNR
    Black River Country Forest Opening Management -- Jackson County, Wisconsin DNR
  • Borst Valley Wildlife Area Wildlife Shrub and Alder Regeneration — Trempealeau County, Wisconsin DNR
  • Mud Lake Wildlife Area Grouse and Woodcock Habitat — Door County, Wisconsin DNR
    Price County Forestry Aspen Age-Class Breakup — Price County, Price County Forestry Department
  • Central Wisconsin Demonstration Forest Project — Green Lake, Outagamie, Portage, Taylor and Wood counties; Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council
  • Bayfield County Buckthorn Removal — Bayfield County, Bayfield County Forestry and Parks Department

Visit for more information or contact RGS/AWS regional wildlife biologist Scott Walter at or 608-538-3840.