State of Wisconsin approves first ever Ruffed Grouse Management Plan
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) voted to approve the states very first ruffed grouse management plan. The impetuous and need for this plan was set forward after the NRB voted on an emergency rule to shorten the 2018 ruffed grouse season. Support for this plan was extensive with 15 members from 13 different government and non-government organizations making up the planning committee. Including two familiar faces: Current RGS Regional Wildlife Biologist Jon Steigerwaldt and past RGS Wildlife Biologist Gary Zimmer.
“This plan was a long time coming,” said Jon Steigerwaldt. “It’s a crucial type of document [the management plan] for managing any species and it just so happens WI didn’t have one for ruffed grouse. Now the emphasis will be implementing the strategies laid out in the plan.”
The plan includes objectives to continue the monitoring of mosquito-borne disease impacts on the ruffed grouse population and modify season structure. Additional objectives include creating guidance documents for professional foresters/loggers on how to create and optimize ruffed grouse habitat as well as pursuing additional partnership positions like the the two NRCS positions RGS already oversees, providing outreach to private landowners, and forming research questions.
The plan also seeks to divide the state into three different priority regions. Due to the uniqueness of each region, area specific habitat strategies will be created that cater to each regions needs. This will include developing ruffed grouse focal areas on state and county lands. These focal areas aim to focus timber harvesting and management efforts on large block forested regions that once implemented, will improve and optimize existing habitat conditions.
The final WI ruffed grouse management plan has been published and can be read via the link below.