Teaming up with state agencies and other conservation groups is one way the NWTF stretches its dollars, said Michigan NWTF Biologist Ryan Boyer.
“In October, we were awarded a grant through the state wildlife habitat program in Michigan,” Boyer explained. “We were awarded $81,095 to enhance and restore a little more than 500 acres of public land in Crawford and Oscoda counties. That is a significant amount of money that allows us to take on several projects. We will start by thinning 25 acres of noncommercial aspen stand. This will help restore habitat that will make great ground cover in the future for wild turkeys and other birds, including ruffed grouse and woodcock.”
Planting food plots is another important part of the overall project.
“We are going to plant about 175 acres in rye, buckwheat and clover and mix in some cool-season grasses,” Boyer said. “We will create hunter walking trails adjacent to these projects. We then will plant clover mixes along the trails, which will provide even more food for the birds. This will make the area good for wildlife and hunters.”
Other conservation groups, including the Ruffed Grouse Society and Whitetails Unlimited, also are pitching in, which helps financially and provides volunteers.
“One component of the project will be to plant 175 acres with hard- and soft-mast trees. White oak, American hazelnut, crabapple and a few other tree varieties will benefit wild turkeys and other birds. The goal is to provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat and food for hens and their poults,” Boyer added.