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02/14/2014

Conservation Efforts Recognized by NWTF and Bureau of Land Management

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Making Tracks With The Bureau of Land Management Awards recognize people and projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management. The awards are presented annually at the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual convention and sport show to people and projects that accomplish the NWTF's mission by significantly improving habitat for wild turkeys and other species.

The Habitat Management Program category recognizes program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys over several years.

Wildlife biologist Dan Baggao and Hydrologist Michael McGee from the BLM field office in Roswell, N.M., were given the award for Group Habitat Management Program for the 12 years of work on the Rio Bonito Enhancement Project in the Fort Stanton Conservation Area.

As part of the project, 20 acres of wildlife habitat and tree orchards were irrigated monthly with water diverted from the Rio Bonito River through irrigation ditches. Vegetation removal of brush and weeds occurred in three irrigation ditches to improve water delivery. One head gate was cleaned and repaired and sections of gated irrigation pipe were repaired and replaced. One 4-inch trash pump was purchased to assist in delivering water to wildlife habitat.

The project allows for the reduction in invasive riparian weed species and to restore and maintain stream, wetland, and riparian areas. One long-term objective is to improve water quality, fisheries habitat and diversity of vegetation and increase native understory vegetation.

This project is expected to reduce sedimentation in the Pecos River and the Rio Bonito River and improve floodplain and increase native grass species.

During the project, 20 acres of wetlands were treated to remove salt cedar, Russian olive and Siberian elm from the Rio Bonito River; 130 Rio Grande Cottonwood trees were planted, along with numerous shrubs, on the Rio Bonito River.

For more information, contact Melanie Swearingen at mswearingen@nwtf.net or (803) 637-7634.

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