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USDA-NRCS Works With Landowners to Improve Wildlife Habitat

Web image: Tall overstory is cut to allow sunlight to reach the understory shrubs. Click image for full screen vieew
Over the last 100 years, there has been a
dramatic decrease in shrublands in New York.
Shrubland habitat for wildlife is created by
cutting the tall overstory trees, allowing
sunlight to reach the understory shrubs.

Full screen view

Web image: Newly released shrubs grow quickly in the sunlight to form blocks of shrubland habitat important for wildlife. Click image for full screen view
Newly released shrubs grow quickly in the
sunlight to form blocks of shrubland habitat
important for wildlife. In New York, there are
33 wildlife species of greatest conservation
need that rely on early successional forest
habitat or shrublands for survival.

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Syracuse, New York, May 21, 2012 – Often a wildlife improvement project targeting a rare or threatened species benefits other plants and animals. This is the case with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program for shrubland birds.

“Shrubland or young forest habitat and the birds that use these areas are declining in New York,” said Dave Mortensen, District Conservationist for Steuben County with USDA NRCS. “The WHIP Shrubland program not only provides habitat for these birds, but many game species such as deer and woodcock as well.”

Landowner Craig Doherty from Canisteo, in Steuben County worked with NRCS to make improvements to wildlife habitat on his property. Doherty selected 13 acres on his land to create young forest habitat.

“We’ve really seen an increase in wildlife since we did the project,” said Doherty. “For example, deer immediately started using the area, cavity nesting birds were observed in the standing snags, at least two ruffed grouse broods were hatched in and/or use the area, an increase in song birds has been noticed, and there was an increase in predators (coyotes, bears and bobcats)”

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you are interested in how you can protect habitat for grass and shrubland birds on your property, please contact your local NRCS office.

Media Contact: Public Affairs 315-477-6524