Be our guest: Cooperating for wildlife habitat and forest health
By the Golden Sands Resource Conservation & Development Council
Matt Dettlaff of Adams County has been attempting to work with neighboring landowners to establish more strategic management plans across property lines and improve forests and wildlife, but his efforts have fallen short of his expectations until Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council stepped in to assist.
The RC&D established 10 area cooperatives that cover more than 10,000 acres in eight counties, including Adams, through a federal pilot project that used the state’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) as a foundation for the groups. The project targeted individual pockets of landowners to form the cooperativesto connect landowners for better wildlife habitat, land management and networking with neighbors and state and federal resource specialists.
Golden Sands RC&D Executive Director Joshua Benes, who also serves as project coordinator, helped organize landowners into group cooperatives of 640 acres or more, which qualified the lands for a Level 3 designation, allowing landowners to receive site visits from Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife biologists and foresters. Landowners are then provided personalized recommendations for their property for how they can improve wildlife habitat and ensure the growth of a healthy forest.
“We have been able to better coordinate our Quality Deer Management efforts and begin plans for more strategic and effective timber harvests in our area,” Dettlaff said. “The feedback from DNR biologists and foresters has definitely helped us to set our strategic approach to both deer herd management and our timber and habitat improvement plans.”
In April and May, there will be three workshops on Saturdays at the Mead Wildlife Education and Visitor Center, 2148 County Highway S, Milladore, that will share information about the project and strategies for other landowners looking to work together. Workshops will begin at 9:30 a.m. and include lunch.
The April 18 workshop will focus on cooperating for wildlife habitat. The May 2 workshop will focus on cooperating for invasive species control. The May 30 workshop will focus on cooperating for forest management.
To register or learn more, visit Golden Sands RC&D’s website at https://www.goldensandsrcd.org/woodsandwildlifeworkshopsor call 715-343-6215, Ext. 707.