RGS & AWS is excited to announce that we’ve recently been awarded a Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund to restore woodcock habitat in Downeast Maine. The Downeast Lakes Land Trust Woodcock Habitat Restoration Project connects two nationally recognized conservation partners with a demonstrated commitment to sustainable forests, local communities, outdoor recreation, and wildlife habitat diversity. 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.
Since 2001, Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) has been contributing to the long-term economic and environmental well-being of the Downeast Lakes region through the conservation and exemplary management of its forests and waters. DLLT sustainably manages the 57,703-acre Downeast Lakes Community Forest for wildlife habitat, sustainable forest products, and public recreation.
The Downeast Lakes Land Trust Woodcock Habitat Restoration Project is restoring 31 acres of woodcock and wildlife habitat on DLLT’s Daugherty Ridge and Musquash units. We are using the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund grant award to hire subcontractors to get this work completed. Low-grade markets for pulp and paper have historically played a key role in providing a commercial outlet for the forest products that are sourced from forest habitat projects and patch cuts in the Downeast Maine region. In the past, this has allowed landowners like DLLT to dovetail habitat projects like this into their broader sustainable forestry programs. Market conditions have declined in the Downeast Region and are not currently strong enough to allow this project to occur without the funding and support of partners like Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.
There is also a public outreach and engagement deliverable associated with the project. RGS & AWS will collaborate with DLLT and partners on signage, educational messaging, and field tours. Healthy, resilient forests are age and species diverse, like a community or family with multiple generations, young and old. A movement toward healthy forest conditions means bringing balance back to landscape-level conditions. This work benefits all forest-dwelling wildlife, not just woodcock and grouse, while also providing numerous co-benefits for public recreation, outreach, and forest health.
This project was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket (currently Cash Lines) are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. For more information about MOHF, go to www.maine.gov/ifw/mohf.