|RGS & AWS has recently been awarded $215,000 through the U.S. Forest Service’s Landscape Scale Restoration grant. The Massachusetts Dynamic Forest Restoration Initiative will coordinate and promote forest habitat restoration across public, private and conservation easement properties across central and western Massachusetts. |
The project aims to improve forest resiliency and health at landscape level on both public and private lands, which benefits Ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and dozens of other forest wildlife species. Along with our matching funds, the grant will enable RGS & AWS and our partners to implement forest habitat enhancement projects on over 1,600 acres of public lands, to fund invasive species treatments on 500 acres of private lands and to roll out critical public outreach and educational programs highlighting the importance of balanced forest landscapes for wildlife, people, and our future.
Massachusetts Dynamic Forest Restoration Initiative connects a diverse set of conservation partners with a demonstrated commitment to improving forest heath on both public and private land. Since 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society has promoted forest stewardship and worked to improve forest heath for the benefit of wildlife and recreational users. RGS & AWS unite conservationists to improve wildlife habitat and forest health for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and ALL forest wildlife. We promote forest stewardship for our forests, our wildlife and our future. We envision landscapes of diverse, functioning forest ecosystems that provide homes for wildlife and opportunities for people to experience them.
Ruffed grouse and American woodcock are bellwethers of forest condition; they can only persist in healthy, diverse forests. These same forests clean the air, filter water, and support local communities. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is responsible for protecting and managing a broad suite of fish and wildlife species, including 570 Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Together, DCR and MassWildlife manage over 525,000 acres of public forestland. “It is all about strong conservation partnerships” stated Commissioner Ronald Amidon, who was the keynote speaker at the RGS & AWS Western Massachusetts Chapter Banquet in Ware, MA earlier this spring.
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust has been a critical steward of nearly 35,000 acres of important habitat within the Route 2 Central Corridor landscape and have been a conservation leader with their efforts to advance forest management and land protection among small woodlot owners. Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust Executive Director Emma Ellsworth notes “It can be hard for even the most committed landowner to think about achieving great habitat forestry, including a tapestry of forestry ages, when we own smaller parcels. This collaborative grant allows us to think about our land in the larger context of our abutters and our region, thus magnifying our perspective and impact. This will give us the tools to synch our forestry across private and public land to think big and act in our own back yards.”
National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is the principal conservation organization working with state wildlife managers to restore wild turkeys to the landscape through partnerships and habitat improvement. NWTF brings extensive technical expertise regarding forest and habitat management for a broad suite of upland wildlife. “National Wild Turkey Federation and its partners strongly believe in the importance of science-based management to restore forest health and build resiliency on the landscape to benefit fish and wildlife habitat. Our proposed collaborative project will manage and restore species and structural diversity to the forested landscape of rural western Massachusetts at a landscape scale that incorporates both public and private lands” stated NWTF Director of Conservation Operations (East) Doug Little and Northeast Regional Biologist Matt DiBona.
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is responsible for managing heathy, working forests, and providing technical assistance to private landowners on the 3.2 million acres of forest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “It is my pleasure to sponsor the Massachusetts Dynamic Forest Restoration Initiative project submitted by the Ruffed Grouse Society. This project is aligned with our State Forest Action Plan and addresses a landscape issue that has been identified as a priority for us” stated Massachusetts DCR State Forester Peter Church in a letter of support for the project. For more information on how you can support the Massachusetts Dynamic Forest Restoration Initiative and get involved, contact RGS & AWS Northeast Forest Conservation Director Todd Waldron at email@example.com.
To join Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society, visit www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.