Without question, the right types of habitat can make all the difference in the world when it comes to wildlife management. For good reason, animals rely on their habitat to provide vital necessities, such as food, water and cover. Many species suffer greatly when suitable habitat is unavailable, which is why action or carefully planned assistance is often needed to correct the situation.
Recently, the NWTF and its partners joined forces to implement multiple prescribed burns within the Bogue Chitto National Wild Refuge. These much-needed projects will provide early successional habitat within the refuge that stretches across the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. As a result, multiple native wildlife species now have access to this crucial type of habitat and will reap the benefits.
According to Luke Lewis, NWTF regional biologist, projects like these would not be possible without the help, cooperation and funding our network of strong partnerships provides. “We were able to work hand-in-hand with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, our local chapter members and Danny Breaux, the Bogue Chitto NWR Refuge manager. The primary goal was to improve over 877 acres of understory habitat that spans across Louisiana and Mississippi.”
After reviewing the proposal, both state chapters voted to support it, and the NWTF Super Fund provided $5,000 for each state. The Bogue Chitto NWR matched these funds, generating $10,000 for each state. They also provided the manpower, along with the tools and equipment needed to complete the work.
Lewis strongly believes the short- and long-term benefits from these projects will have a profound impact on a variety of native wildlife species, especially the wild turkey. “The improved understory habitat will provide food, cover and brood-rearing habitat. The availability of grass, forbs, legumes and insects are exactly what young turkey poults need.”
In addition, the reduction of hardwood competition fosters a better understory plant community that is open to travel and offers sufficient escape cover. This type of habitat improvement creates the potential for increased turkey populations, enhanced brood habitat and better hunting opportunities.