Primary contact: Scot Williamson Organization: Wildlife Management Institute
Partnership to implement the 6-state Wildlife Action Plans to recover New England Cottontail populations by conserving critical habitat in six states on federal, state, and private lands.
Primary contact: Ryan Owens Organization: Monadnock Conservancy
This project provides community-based conservation planning and education that integrates and disseminates New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan objectives, data, and priorities at the critical town scale. More than a century of land conservation experience in New Hampshire demonstrates that the most successful conservation efforts are those initiated and managed at the community level. Local communities overwhelmingly support land conservation, but only when they feel that their unique values and voices have been heard. Top-down regulation and planning are often resented, and conservation efforts that lack local buy-in and “ownership” are often divisive and disadvantageous to subsequent efforts. The overall goal of this project is to increase the pace of high-quality natural resource and wildlife habitat conservation in the 35-town Monadnock Region of southwestern NH. This will be accomplished by providing assistance and training to towns in building the social and financial capacity to identify and protect lands of natural resource and wildlife habitat significance.
Primary contact: Randy Arndt Organization: The Nature Conservancy of Missouri
The Nature Conservancy has taken on a leading role in preserving Missouri's and Iowa's prairie heritage. The Grand River Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Area is a 25,000 acre native grassland restoration area located in Harrison County, Missouri and is part of the 70,000 acre Grand River Grasslands spanning the Iowa/Missouri border. Early land surveys indicate that as much as 95% of this landscape, which is part of the Central Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion, existed as native prairie. Today, approximately 84% consists of degraded grassland habitat, mostly non-native cool-season grasses such as brome and fescue. Although overall grassland diversity has declined, approximately half of the grasslands contain significant prairie vegetation that is considered restorable. In addition, the presence of several indicator grassland species, including a small population of Greater Prairie Chickens, identifies this as one of the best places in the Central Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion to restore a functioning tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Under this project, The Conservancy plans to restore 940 acres of land to prairie habitat using a process that has been proven to be a successful restoration method. Fescue pastures will be prepared for seeding with a variety of techniques including soybean planting, herbicide application, and prescribed burns. Planting techniques will include direct-seeding into soybean stubble and inter-seeding into low-quality prairie remnants. Seed will be mechanically harvested in the fall from portions of the The Nature Conservancy's Dunn Ranch preserve and from Missouri Department of Conservation-owned prairies. Seed harvested at this time tends to be of low diversity (20-25 species), resulting in a very homogeneous, floristically low quality restoration or reconstruction. In order to increase the species richness of the seed mix to over 100 species, seed from conservative species will be hand-collected throughout the growing season and additional conservative species will be purchased from seed vendors. Also under this project, approximately 2,100 acres of habitat will be treated with fire to improve the success of prairie plantings and to enhace currently established prairies. Prescribed burns will be properly planned and supervised by professional conservation staff with RXB2 certification. Certified staff will complete prescribed fire plans, a site restoration plan identifying needs for habitat improvement, and emergency response communications involving the local rural fire department. In addition, problem invasive and aggressive species on 4,000 acres will be cut and/or spot-sprayed throughout the growing season by trained crews so that native species are able to thrive. A contractor will be hired to clear invasive trees from an additional 120 acres of grassland. In addition to restoration activities, The Conservancy's Private Land Coordinator will work directly with private landowners to demonstrate that conservation and agriculture can be accomplished hand-in-hand through pasture conversion, removal of trees, and other conservation-friendly agricultural practices. Since more than 87% of land within the Grand River Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Area is in private land ownership, private conservation efforts are essential to the success of the Greater Prairie Chicken and other important grassland birds. The Private Land Coordinator will work with interested landowners to influence grassland management on private lands through workshops and direct outreach. The Conservancy also plans to facilitate conservation practices on private land through cost-share projects with willing landowners. To track efforts made with private landowners, a shared database will be used by The Nature Conservancy and our conservation partners.
Primary contact: Carrie Salyers Organization: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
The southwest corner of Louisiana was once an important area of the whooping crane’s winter range and until the mid-twentieth century, the home of the United States’ last resident whooping crane colony. Due to their historical presence in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) plans to establish a self-sustaining whooping crane population on and around White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA) located in Vermilion parish, in southwest Louisiana. The goals of the project are to establish a self-sustaining whooping crane population on and around WLWCA. A self-sustaining population is defined as a flock with 130 individuals and 30 nesting pairs that survive for 10 years without any additional restocking. Additionally, we hope our efforts will lead the species to be down-listed from an endangered species to a threatened species. The first scheduled release is set for February 2011. For the first winter, 10 juvenile birds are tentatively set for release at WLWCA. Contingent upon the first year’s success, one to two cohorts (6-8 birds) will be released in subsequent years for ten years. Birds will be monitored closely throughout the duration of the project.
Primary contact: Randy Rogers Organization: Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG)
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) has been working for over 15 years with many private of government partners to restore one or more free-ranging populations of wood bison (Bison, bison athabascae) in Interior Alaska. Wood bison are a subspecies of North American bison that was present in Alaska for nearly 10,000 years, but disappeared sometime in the last few hundred years. ADFG has conducted habitat studies and identified three locations that could support a herd of 400 or more wood bison. In 2008, ADFG imported a small herd of wood bison from Elk Island National Park in Canada. These animals are being held in captivity at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, pending completion of disease testing and site planning and preparation. ADFG is presently working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promulgate regulations under the Endangered Species Act to designate wood bison in Alaska as a nonessential experimental population. These regulations will ensure conservation of wood bison and also provide management flexibility to ensure that wood bison restoration is compatible with other resource development activities. ADFG will begin a cooperative planning process to restore wood bison in the lower Yukon/Innoko River area in spring 2011. The first release is planned for spring, 2012.
Primary contact: Brian Boutin Organization: The Nature Conservancy - North Carolina chapter
This project is focused on building the resilience of the ecosystems of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in coastal North Carolina to climate change and sea-level rise and to preserve and improve essential wetland functions on more than 11,000 acres of wetland habitat bordering Pamlico Sound through hydrologic restoration, native vegetation plantings and oyster reef restoration. Ditch plugs will be installed in two secondary drainage ditches connecting to Pamlico Sound to help restore the natural hydrologic regime and prevent saltwater intrusion, essentially completing wetland restoration for over 12 miles of estuarine shoreline. Ditch plugs will be planted with native brackish marsh grasses, including black needle rush, saltmeadow hay, and/or salt grass, to stabilize plugs and discourage invasion of non-native vegetation. Additionally, 700 linear feet of oyster reefs will be constructed parallel to the shoreline to attenuate wave energy and reduce rates of erosion in the vicinity of the ditch plugs and other highly eroding estuarine shorelines.
Primary contact: Josh Donlan Organization: Advanced Conservation Strategies
We will build an interdisciplinary team to optimize, implement, and mainstream a habitat crediting program focused the gopher tortoise and family woodlands in the southeastern United States. This program will deliver on-the-ground results, including conservation actions (e.g., habitat restoration) implemented on more than 25,000 acres of private woodlands by 2012.
Primary contact: Devon Comstock Organization: Oregon Natural Desert Associaiton
The Oregon Natural Desert Association along with the Friends of Nevada Wilderness will be collaborating to maintain the overall integrity of the critical wildlife habitat and migratory corridors in the region between and around Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Nevada, referred to as the Hart-Sheldon complex. These partners will accomplish this overarching objective by working with state and federal agencies and other groups to: 1) Complete a climate change and resource vulnerability assessment of the area using spatial analysis over the course of six months; 2) Work with project partners to organize restoration opportunities; and 3) Complete on-the-ground restoration activities such as fence removal and restoration of degraded springs during two consecutive field seasons. By the end of the project ONDA and FNW will have removed 80 miles of fence, which acts an an impediment to wildlife migration. We will also be partnering with USFWS to restore degraded spring sites, crucial to migratory birds and ungulates.
Primary contact: Heidi Kretser Organization: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
This project works to leverage existing research and partnerships in New York state to positively impact Species of Greatest Conservation Need through improved local landuse planning. WCS will build networks, enhance outreach, and work with pilot communities to integrate policies that maintain intact habitats and benefit wildlife.
Primary contact: Leigh Ann Cienek Organization: Triangle Land Conservancy
The Chatham County, North Carolina Comprehensive Conservation Plan will develop a model process for assembling and synthesizing conservation information for interpretation and public use in local, regional and statewide decision making. The project will map State Wildlife Action Plan priority habitats and species for Chatham County on a on a landscape level scale, which can be used in decisions regarding land protection or development.
Primary contact: Brad McRae Organization: The Nature Conservancy - Washington
This project works to map priority areas for conserving and restoring wildlife habitat connectivity throughout arid lands in eastern Washington and adjacent areas. The Nature Conservancy in Washington will extend the impact of this work by integrating it with innovative wind energy siting and mitigation work as well as climate-related research and planning.
Primary contact: Mark Zankel Organization: The Nature Conservancy - New Hampshire
Staying Connected is a new initiative to help safeguard wide‐ranging and forest‐dwelling wildlife such as bear, moose, lynx, marten and bobcat from the impacts of habitat fragmentation and climate change by maintaining and restoring landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians region. This project works to maintain, enhance, and restore habitat connectivity for wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need in six key linkages across four states of the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion (ME, NH,NY,VT).
Primary contact: Melissa Savage Organization: The Four Corners Institute
The Four Corners Institute will work with the State of New Mexico and other conservation partners to release 30 otters into the Upper Rio Grande and Gila Rivers, and develop a long-term otter population management and monitoring plan for the state.
Primary contact: Shan Cammack Organization: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
This project enables the Nongame Conservation Section to expand its habitat restoration activities as outlined in the State Wildlife Action Plan by hiring a seasonal fire crew dedicated to carrying out prescribed fire across Georgia. The team will focus on high priority conservation properties that support rare species.