Pheasants Forever Helps Develop Michigan Pheasant Recovery Initiative
Ambitious effort calls for large-scale habitat improvement to double Michigan's pheasant harvest
February 3, 2016...Update!
NOW, THAT’S SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT!
We are happy to see so much progress in the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI) by Pheasants Forever and all of its partners. A highly attractive, easy to review report summarizes these accomplishments with maps, charts, photos and quotes. See the MPRI Coalition Midpoint Accomplishment Report at www.MichiganPheasantsForever.org. We hope these few highlights from the first 5 years will give you an appetite for seeing the whole report:
- · Pheasants Forever Chapters provided 75,000 acres of habitat
- · DNR purchased 917 acres in 15 parcels on MPRI state game areas
- · 8,760 acres of grassland improvements and 5,363 acres of food plots on key MPRI state game areas
- · 8 Farm Bill Biologists hired to help landowners enroll in conservation programs
- · License fee changes allowed DNR to hire more field staff and invest more funds in state game area habitat improvements
- · 10 Wildlife Cooperatives established and 10 more getting started
- · $1,152,710 in DNR Wildlife Habitat Grants awarded for 3,265 acres of projects that will benefit pheasants
- · $2,164,299 in federal grants secured for the DNR Hunter Access Program with 170 properties and 20,089 acres enrolled in 2015
- · $865,000 federal grant with $30,000 of PF matching funds for 3,000 acres of habitat improvements on public and private lands
- · Nearly 1,800 acres of grassland habitat restored by Ducks Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation
- · $3 million in federal North American Waterfowl Conservation Act grants for wetland and grassland restoration
- · 288,000 acres enrolled by landowners in the federal farm grassland programs with another Conservation Reserve Program sign-up in early 2016
We can’t wait to see these habitat improvements mature and pheasants and other wildlife respond in the years ahead. Congratulations MPRI Coalition, landowners, hunters, and volunteers!
Michigan wants to affect pheasant habitat across 2 million acres to provide better pheasant hunting and small game opportunity.
Lansing, Mich. - November 17 -
Pheasants Forever, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) and other partners have developed a new Pheasant Recovery Initiative aimed at restoring Michigan's pheasant hunting heritage.
Three 3-county areas are initially targeted by the initiative for pheasant habitat improvement, including Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties; Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties; and Gratiot, Saginaw and Clinton counties. Geographic Information Survey (GIS) was used to identify priority areas in the state based on the potential to positively impact pheasant numbers. Factors in developing priority areas include: an open agricultural landscape, less forest and abundance of lands enrolled in federal Farm Bill conservation programs (such as the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP). The plan calls for identifying 10,000-acre areas where landowners are interested in resurrecting pheasant hunting. Once identified, the DNRE will study the habitat and work with partners and landowners on habitat restoration.
"There are more than 50,000 hunters who pursue pheasants annually in Michigan, and we can do better at meeting their demand for opportunity," says Mike Parker, Pheasants Forever's Regional Wildlife Biologist in the state, "It's a given that when you have quality and quantity habitat, you have pheasants. Revitalizing habitat - nesting cover, escape cover and food and winter cover - is the key to revitalizing pheasant hunting in Michigan." The goal of the plan is to double Michigan's current pheasant harvest. The plan will also have a tremendous impact on hunter retention and recruitment in the state.
The key difference between past efforts and the new Pheasant Recovery Initiative, Parker says, is the broad landscape scale. "Previous efforts have been successful on smaller scales, improving 40 acres for a landowner here, and 40 acres for a landowner there," Parker said, "But to maximize pheasant hunting, we need to broaden the focus." Parker says the goal will be to restore pheasant habitat on 15 to 30 percent of the landscape within the Pheasant Recovery Areas, utilizing state land where possible. The long-range objective is to have 200 or so 10,000 acre Pheasant Recovery Areas in the state, or 2 million acres in the program.
Other partners developing the Pheasant Recovery Initiative in Michigan include Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
For participating Pheasant Recovery Area coalitions, the DNRE staff will provide assistance on habitat prescriptions, project partners will aid in securing seed for grass plantings and federal resources may be leveraged to provide financial incentives for participating landowners. Also, for land that meets habitat restoration objectives, the DNRE may provide seed and /or materials for plantings.
This winter, Pheasants Forever, DNRE staff and project partners will be hosting landowner workshops to discuss the Pheasant Recovery Initiative. To get involved in the program and for more details, landowners may also contact Al Stewart, DNRE Upland Game Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mark Sargent, DNRE Private Lands Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Michigan is home to 36 Pheasants Forever chapters and more than 7,800 Pheasants Forever members. For more information about Pheasants Forever in the state, contact Mike Parker at (517) 896-4178 and firstname.lastname@example.org.