NRCS assists woodcock restoration in the Northeast

NRCS assists woodcock restoration in the Northeast

The soon-to-be-released Woodcock Conservation Plan calls for active management on public and private forestlands to return woodcock populations to 1980 levels. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has stepped to the plate by joining the coalition that is advancing woodcock recovery in the Northeast, reports the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI).

In June, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the awarding of a competitive Fish and Wildlife Conservation Grant to the WMI Woodcock Initiative to develop and evaluate technological tools for woodcock habitat improvements. The grants will be administered by the newly opened Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center in Madison, Mississippi.

The grant will assist NRCS efforts to promote habitat management on family farms and forestlands in the Northeast by developing model woodcock habitat Best Management Practices, habitat management demonstration areas, technical assistance deliveries and multiple outreach mechanisms to private landowners.

The Woodcock Initiative proposes an innovative approach to help solve a regional shortage of young forest and shrubland habitats, by focusing landowner attention to management for woodcock habitat requirements via a metapopulation approach. It will test, evaluate and demonstrate how to integrate habitat management for early successional species into a holistic management system that complements requirements for late successional species, wetland dependent species, threatened and endangered species and to improve water quality.

While woodcock are identified as the focal species of the Initiative, state Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeast collectively identify 58 Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are dependent on similar young forest and shrubland habitats used by woodcock.

July 09, 2006