Today, the Ruffed Grouse Society brought together agency professionals from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to focus on landscape-scale goals to enhance future young forest habitat in the Driftless Region.
Today (August 16, 2016) the Ruffed Grouse Society launched the Driftless Young Forest Symposium in La Crosse, Wisconsin to bring together agency professionals from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to focus on landscape-scale goals to enhance young forest habitat in the Driftless Region. Symposium goals include providing a clear understanding of the area forest use trends and wildlife impacts, to recognize challenges of forest management in this region and to identify and embrace opportunities for potential landscape-scale benefits to young forest habitat in the future.
Partners providing resources for the Driftless Young Forest Symposium include the Ruffed Grouse Society, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, National Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The Driftless Region encompasses southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois and is noted for its deeply carved valleys and streams that were a result of this area escaping glaciation. Photo from NRCS.
The welcome address was presented by Kurt Thiede, deputy secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who discussed the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership and the importance of agencies working together for the benefit of young forest initiatives. RGS Regional Wildlife Biologist for Wisconsin Scott Walter gave the opening remarks and moderated all presentations while Tricia Gorby-Knoot, research sociologist and economist for the Wisconsin DNR, discussed trends in the composition of the forests of the Driftless Region and urged professionals to take action in the region to make a difference.
The keynote speaker was RGS Director of Conservation Policy Dan Dessecker who provided wildlife impacts of long-term forest trends in the Driftless Region. He stated that wildlife conservation need not be complicated by stating, “To sustain the full array of forest wildlife, we must sustain the full array of wildlife habitats.” He urged that public perception is the only reality when it comes to the view of forest management, and that a major challenge for the Driftless area is that the landscape is 90 percent privately owned. Because of that, he stated, “Wildlife is the window through which the public views our forests,” and stressed that it is necessary to help private landowners understand that if they want wildlife on their property, forest management is the key. Healthy forests = healthy wildlife populations.
The Symposium continues through tomorrow (August 17, 2016) with state reports (Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin), small group discussions, open group discussions for future plans, and a presentation on a model for landscape-scale management of the Driftless Region by Brad Hutnik and Greg Edge, forest ecologists for the WI DNR.
For more information about habitat management in the Driftless Region, contact RGS Regional Wildlife Biologist Scott Walter, ScottW@RuffedGrouseSociety.Org, or RGS Regional Wildlife Biologist Meadow Kouffeld-Hansen, MeadowK@RuffedGrouseSociety.Org.
For more information about the Ruffed Grouse Society, go to www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.