On October 31, 2018, the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS/AWS) submitted a letter in response to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife (IN DNR) Rule Ideas for the 2018 Got INput Period in support of adding ruffed grouse to the list of endangered species of birds in Indiana.
RGS/AWS recognizes robust scientific data and literature which have long indicated the precipitous decline in ruffed grouse throughout their historic range within the state of Indiana. RGS/AWS echo IDNR statements included in the Got INput document, emphasizing that extirpation of this species is virtually inevitable unless significant timber harvests of sufficient intensity are applied on the landscape. These treatments are necessary to create the habitat required for this species and numerous other young forest dependent wildlife that are also experiencing declines in Indiana.
RGS/AWS support of the proposed listing comes with the caveat that subsequent environmental reviews in areas where grouse may still persist should strongly favor active forest management. A review process which facilitates recovery rather than hindering habitat creation is of the utmost importance.
Additionally, a request has been made to IN DNR to consult RGS/AWS on the development of a recovery plan to ensure that the listing of this species to state endangered is followed up with significant and active science based forest management.
Further, RGS/AWS recommended the immediate amendment of the 2015 Indiana State Wildlife Action Plan to include ruffed grouse as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need, and inclusion on all future versions of the Indiana State Wildlife Action Plan in order to outline the steps needed to conserve this species in Indiana.
Petition to Adopt Rule Change
More recently, on August 8th, 2019, RGS/AWS submitted a petition for administrative rule
adoption (under IC 4-22-2), requesting the Natural Resources Commission expeditiously enact this rule change at the earliest possible opportunity.
RGS/AWS is committed to uniting conservationists to improve wildlife habitat and forest health. “Both as a national organization representing 17,000 members and on behalf of our 157 Hoosier members, we respectfully request careful and appropriate consideration of this administrative rule adoption.” RGS/AWS values its conservation partnership with IDNR and look forward to working towards a solution.
Thank You Indiana Members
RGS/AWS would like to specifically thank the Indiana chapter of RGS and all area members for your continued efforts and support of the RGS/AWS mission in Indiana. Without you, the ruffed grouse and woodcock would not have a voice and our conservation efforts would be fruitless. You are conservation leaders, and for that we thank you.