Monthly Archives: May 2010

Bear Management Plan: Population and Habitat

Black bear are big omnivores that are socially and economically important. Other than bear hunters and those that have nuisance bears in their area, many people in the state of Michigan probably pay the native black bears little attention. But not the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) , as they recently developed a Statewide Bear Management Plan. The plan was finalized last year to address the long term management of Michigan’s black bear population.

The mission of the DNR’s black bear management program is to maintain a healthy black bear population, but also one that provides a balance of recreational opportunities for residents and at the same time minimizes conflicts with the growing human population within the state. To fulfill this mission, the Michigan DNR has established 6 strategic bear management goals: Continue reading

Wildlife Habitat Management Training

Interested in wildlife and habitat management in Texas? Well, here is your chance to meet up with land professionals from across the state on June 3-4, 2010 in Mason, Texas,  for a ground breaking, collaborative, and informative workshop dealing with current trends and applications of biological monitoring. This is an opportunity for professionals to hone their technical skills, build inter-agency connections, and learn about trends in biological monitoring and how you can make the most of it in your profession.

Dr. Richard Teague will explain how remote sensing technology is providing an opportunity for consistent and feasible biological monitoring at the landscape level. Dr. Teague believes that research and service must provide the linkage that enables managers to base decisions for sustainable land use on the principles of ecosystem function. When it comes to wildlife management, this is where the rubber meets the road! Continue reading

Planting Native Grass for Wildlife Habitat

Creating better habitat for wildlife has become more important as natural lands have been lost or converted for other uses. Of course, habitat is always relative to the animal we are discussing — because quail habitat is not the same as duck habitat. Native grasslands have been one of the hardest hit plant communities in the United States, so animals that use this area have been highly impacted. But, native grass can be planted and re-established for grassland-using wildlife species.

When it comes to good-for-wildlife grasses, native grasses are of course the only way to go. Good grasses over much of the Great Plains would be species such as big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, sideoats grama, and switchgrass. Switchgrass really works good in drainages and wetter areas within grasslands. Also, if you want the cream of the crop grass try some eastern gamagrass. Continue reading

USDA Tips Program Helps Farmers, Wildlife

Farming is an important component of our American heritage throughout the United States, and sustainable practices go hand-in-hand with habitat management and wildlife populations. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the Transition Incentives Program (TIP), a new program under the Conservation Title of the 2008 Farm Bill – to encourage retired or retiring owners or operators to transition their land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.

“Ensuring that our nation’s land is returned to production using sustainable methods is critical not only for our future food supply, but also for the economic future of our rural communities. Access to land is one of the greatest challenges faced by new farmers. The Transition Incentives Program is one more tool in the USDA toolkit to protect family farms and support beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.”

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Bird House Plans: Design Ideas to Remember

Bluebirds, robins, chickadees, titmice, wrens, and purple martins adapt easily to using bird houses. They will choose rural or urban yards alike where there is a small patch of suitable habitat. This may consist of homemade bird houses and berry baskets of hair, moss, cottonballs, and yarn. Or, it may be a patch of wild garden and trees. The birds’ nest building and food gathering provide hours of entertainment to armchair bird watchers.

Nest Box Plans

First, almost any grade of untreated lumber can be used to build nest boxes for any bird species. Several types of wood, however, are more durable and desirable. Treated lumber should never be used for nest boxes. The most durable woods include cypress, cedar, and redwood. You will get much more life out of boxes constructed of these materials. Pine, although less durable, is easier to work and somewhat less expensive than other wood. Exterior-grade plywood can also be used; it is recommended for roof boards, no matter what lumber is used to construct the nest box. Lumber should be at least 3/4 inch thick to provide insulation for the birds. Nest box dimensions and height for placement are shown in the photo. Continue reading

Creating a Wildlife Management Plan

For landowners interested in wildlife and habitat management, a wildlife management plan is an important part of successful, long-term management of their property. Before getting too deep into management practices you may want to implement, determine your goals and objectives for the land. Then, begin the wildlife management plan by obtaining a map or aerial photo of your land. Aerial photographs are available at no charge to the landowner from many state wildlife agencies in addition to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

When looking at a photo of your property, note the different plant communities. Most properties have 3 to 5 plant communities, and it’s important to see how they fit together. Each type of habitat meets different wildlife needs, so for best results they should be intermixed on your property. Also, pay attention to areas that are isolated from other habitat types.

Some smaller animals, such as quail and rabbits require habitat types be close together. These species like dense brush adjacent to open grassy areas. Other wildlife species such as white-tailed deer and turkey can travel hundreds of yards to find food, cover, and water, so spacing is not quite as important. However, it’s important to plan travel corridors for these animals. Continue reading

USDA Offers Additional Money for Habitat Management

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced an additional $14.3 million in conservation financial assistance for working lands through the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), which offers private landowners the opportunity to protect, restore and enhance grassland habitat. Landowners interested in improving native wildlife habitat for endemic plant and animal species should take a good look at this federal funding source.

“This additional funding will enable even more landowners to protect environmentally and economically important agricultural land and preserve the resources that are so critical to the health and prosperity of our rural communities,” said Don Gohmert, NRCS state conservationist for Texas. “The funding will assist landowners in protecting Texas grassland and conserve a resource base on which we all depend.”

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