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Posts tagged: Working Lands for Wildlife

More Boots on the Ground to Help Declining Songbird in Minnesota

Posted by Julie MacSwain, Minnesota Public Affairs Specialist on July 05, 2016 at 07:54 AM
The golden-winged warbler breeds in the Great Lakes region and the Appalachian Mountains. Photo: DJ McNeil

The golden-winged warbler breeds in the Great Lakes region and the Appalachian Mountains. Photo: DJ McNeil

Minnesota is a stronghold for the golden-winged warbler, a bird suffering a significant population decline. A new project brings together a nonprofit, a federal agency and private landowners to slow or even reverse this decline.

Golden-winged warblers depend on young forests for nesting. But across the country, including in Minnesota, forests have changed, and older forests have come to dominate huge areas. Both game and non-game species that rely on young forests are in decline.  Read more >>

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Tags: West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, forests, Working Lands for Wildlife, golden-winged warbler, Minnesota, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Great Lakes region, Appalachian region

categories Landscape Initiatives, Conservation Programs, Discover Conservation, Environment, Plants & Animals


Forests through the Ages: the Importance of Young Forests

Posted by Bridgett Estel Costanzo, NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife East Coordinator on July 01, 2016 at 09:03 AM
Like other wildlife that depend on young forests, the golden-winged warbler uses openings created by natural or human-induced disturbances. Photo by Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Like other wildlife that depend on young forests, the golden-winged warbler uses openings created by natural or human-induced disturbances. Photo by Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

As a nature lover and professional biologist, I like to brag that our daughters can identify trees, birds, insects, and even snakes. But one day I received a tiny stab to my prideful heart. 

Our daughter, Natalie, had created a poster for her elementary school ecology class that had the message “Don’t kill trees!” When I saw it, I realized that in teaching her about trees, I hadn’t passed on to her an important lesson: that forests go through stages of life just like people do.  Read more >>

Tags: Working Lands for Wildlife, habitat restoration, forests

categories Landscape Initiatives, Discover Conservation, Environment, Plants & Animals


Trail to Recovery: New Tool to Help Evaluate New England Cottontail Habitat

Posted by Melissa Martin on May 25, 2016 at 11:00 AM
The New England cottontail sits in the grass.

The New England cottontail is the region's only native rabbit. Photo courtesy of U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service.

When we at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and our partners work with landowners to restore habitat on working lands, we know it’s good for wildlife but we aren’t always sure just how good. But now we have a way to assess our success thanks to a new tool — the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), which makes it possible for us to evaluate the quality of habitat created for the rare New England cottontail rabbit. 

What happened to the habitat?
Since the 1960s, the cottontail’s range has decreased by more than 80 percent. The decline is due to a number of factors, including development, aging forests, and a lack of fire and other disturbances. This is why NRCS, the New England Cottontail Technical Group and other conservation partners are restoring cottontail habitat by modifying forests, planting shrubs and removing invasive plants. Read more >>

Tags: New Hampshire, New England cottontail, Working Lands for Wildlife

categories Landscape Initiatives


Create Quail Habitat on Your Land

Posted by Renee Bodine on May 19, 2016 at 11:37 AM
A northern bobwhite quail sits in a tree.

The northern bobwhite quail population has declined in America.

Bill Barnhill recalls the days when a robust quail population brought hunters to Florida’s panhandle for national field trials. Since then, the species has declined 85 percent in the United States, according to some estimates. So when he hosted a quail habitat workshop recently, it was no surprise when 100 people crowded into his hunting lodge eight miles northwest of Crestview, Florida to learn how to bring back the northern bobwhite quail. Here is just some of what they learned.

Why are quail in decline? A loss of habitat is the primary reason. In the 1940s, coveys thrived on small farms along the edges of fields, hedgerows, fencerows and windbreaks. But small fields gave way to industrial farms with large expansive fields and development consumed open native grasslands. After decades of fire suppression, undergrowth was choking out quail forage, nesting cover and protection.  Read more >>

Tags: Florida, Longleaf Pine Initiative, Working Lands for Wildlife

categories Landscape Initiatives, Plants & Animals


Targeted Efforts to Restore Wetlands Helped Louisiana Black Bear Recover

Posted by Justin Fritscher on May 02, 2016 at 10:42 AM
The Louisiana black bear's current range is in Louisiana and Mississippi along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers.

The Louisiana black bear's current range is in Louisiana and Mississippi along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers.

Louisiana black bears were in trouble. In the alluvial plain along the Mississippi River, highly fertile soil led to the historic conversion of bottomland hardwoods to cultivated cropland during the 1960s and 1970s when soybean prices reached record highs. By 1992, the bear had lost 80 percent of its habitat, and biologists estimated fewer than 200 remained.

But landowners who voluntarily restored wetland habitat on private lands reversed the bear’s downward trend, paving the way for its recovery.

May marks American Wetlands Month, a time to celebrate the importance of wetland ecosystems, including the bottomland hardwood forests that the Louisiana black bear needs. Read more >>

Tags: Louisiana, black bear, Working Lands for Wildlife, wetlands, bottomland hardwood, forests

categories Plants & Animals, Conservation Programs, Discover Conservation, Environment, Landscape Initiatives