The notice below was created by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Council in western North Carolina. RGS Regional Wildlife Biologist Linda Ordiway Ph.D. is a member of the Council and helped create the points in this notice. RGS supports the notice as developed and delivered by the Council.
National Forest Plan Revision Meetings Coming Up
We would like to encourage all sportsmen to get involved with the revision of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan. It is crucial for sportsmen to let their voices be heard during this process. The revised plan will guide management for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests for the next 15 years. Habitat is the basis for our wildlife populations so it is very important that sportsmen are at the table. We have a great opportunity to influence the plan and we hope you will take this opportunity to do so.
This opportunity only occurs once every 15 to 20 years! Please attend the meetings the USFS will be having over the next three weeks:
THESE MEETINGS ARE PERHAPS THE MOST CRUCIAL MEETINGS so far, as the Forest Service is beginning to define their management areas. This sets in motion what they can and cannot do on USFS lands in particular locations for the next 15-20 years. We want to keep options open for wildlife management.
Each of the scheduled meetings will be from 4:30-7:30 p.m., will follow the same agenda and present the same information and opportunity for review and comment. YOU DON’T HAVE TO ARRIVE AT 4:30 – YOU CAN DROP IN ANY TIME TO MAKE COMMENTS ON MANAGEMENT AREAS.
Meeting dates and locations:
• Pisgah Ranger District: Oct. 21 at the Forge Valley Event Center in Mills River;
• Nantahala Ranger District: Oct. 28 at the Tartan Hall in Franklin;
• Tusquitee Ranger District: Oct. 30 at the Tri-County Comm. College, Enloe Building in Murphy;
• Appalachian Ranger District: Nov. 3 at Mars Hill College, Broyhill Chapel in Mars Hill;
• Cheoah Ranger District: Nov. 6 at the Graham County Community Center in Robbinsville;
• Grandfather Ranger District: Nov. 13 at McDowell Tech. Comm. College, Room 113 in Marion
Ask the U.S. Forest Service to consider the following points for wildlife:
1) Support habitat and focal area recommendations from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission
2) Support a diversity of habitats for a diversity of wildlife
3) Keep all of the forest open for potential management for wildlife during the planning cycle (except for Congressionally mandated areas such as wilderness, Inventoried Roadless Areas).
4) Focus on restoring young forests on 8-12% of the land. Meet goals specified for early successional habitat recommended by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
5) Ensure that the following species are used as focal species and species of conservation concern:
a. Golden-Winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Wood Thrush, Ruffed Grouse, White-Tailed Deer, Turkey, Elk, Woodcock, Bird Diversity
6) Open forest stands by thinning stands to benefit wildlife.
7) Promote use of prescribed fire to establish wildlife habitat.
8) Ensure that all the habitat management tools are available forest wide for wildlife habitat management:
a. Timber Management: Use silvicultural treatments such as clearcutting, seed tree harvests, overstory removal with residuals, and shelterwood harvests to provide the proper structural conditions.
b. Mechanical Clearing: Mow and bush-hogging. Includes daylighting openings with chainsaws, boom mower or other mechanical means. Also includes mechanical means used to restore young forest conditions.
c. Prescribed Burning: Use burning to promote or suppress woody vegetation growth by controlling burn intensity and timing (growing season vs. dormant season).
d. Herbicide Application: Apply herbicides that selectively target woody plant growth, especially in combination with other management tools such as fire, grazing, or mowing to retard plant succession and prolong the period of habitat suitability.
e. Agricultural Practices: Seeding, fertilizing, topdressing, discing, seed-drilling
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Council
Western North Carolina’s Wildlife Collaborative
2700 Flat Creek Valley Road
Lake Toxaway, NC 28747