The Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) recently signed the Sugar Creek Stewardship Agreement on the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina. The project, previously shelved as a “no-bid” timber sale, will improve forest health and habitat through active forest management on 409 acres across a 1,912-acre project area.
The project will include 192 acres of commercial timber harvests to create young and open forest conditions, 11 acres of roadside daylighting, 148 acres of post-harvest site preparation to establish natural regeneration, 10 acres of wildlife opening management, 48 acres of nonnative invasive plant control and installation of 3 gates.
RGS & AWS will collaborate with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission on the wildlife opening management. Service work contracts will be awarded to local and regional contractors.
“The Sugar Creek Stewardship Agreement is another step forward in RGS & AWS’ mission of creating healthy forests and abundant wildlife in North Carolina and around the U.S. This project reflects the effort of state and federal partners, RGS & AWS staff and local chapter volunteers who serve on stakeholder groups and participate in public comment,” said Nick Biemiller, Southern Appalachian Forest Conservation Director.
Stewardship agreements are one of the primary tools that RGS & AWS is utilizing to help the Nantahala National Forest increase capacity for active forest management and achieve objectives in the Forest Plan. In a stewardship agreement, RGS & AWS assist the Forest Service by helping with timber sale administration. Because the habitat project is administered through a stewardship agreement, 100% of the forest product revenue stays local within the project area to help cover costs and pay for additional habitat treatments completed by service work contractors.
RGS & AWS promotes healthy forests, abundant wildlife, and conservation ethics, and envisions landscapes of diverse forests 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.
For further information about this project, contact Nick Biemiller, Southern Appalachian Forest Conservation Director.
About the Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society unites conservationists to improve wildlife habitat and forest health and promote a conservation ethic, all grounded in the tenets of science-based management practices.
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