The NWTF has been working closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to reintroduce the Eastern wild turkey to its historic range in east Texas through the Eastern Wild Turkey Super Stocking Project. The NWTF has a strong presence in east Texas for this reason and is focusing its efforts in many capacities to ensure the wild turkey succeeds in the region, from translocating wild turkeys, to enhancing wild turkey habitat, to ensuring resources are available for partners and wildlife professionals. All of these projects are pieces of a larger puzzle. No one piece is more important than the other; rather, they work in accord.
One of the pieces to the conservation puzzle is ensuring the proper equipment and resources are available to conduct habitat enhancement projects, such as forest thinning, tree plantings, ridding invasive species or, in the following case, conducting controlled burns.
To support the TPWD in increasing early successional habitat (ideal for wild turkeys) via prescribed fire practices, the NWTF recently contributed $7,000 to help purchase the necessary equipment to fully stock two Type 6 fire engines to meet federal standard requirements by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which includes hoses, pump, fire shelters, mechanics tool set and other equipment used on controlled burns and wildfires.
The controlled burns these trucks will primarily be used for are centered in the NWTF’s Pineywoods Focal Landscape, part of its America’s Big Six of Wildlife Conservation regions, and encompass 420,553 acres throughout 19 wildlife management areas. These fire engines also assist statewide, as needed, for both wildfires and controlled burns.
“Prescribed fire has been a critical habitat management tool in the Pineywoods of east Texas, creating suitable habitat and giving the translocated Eastern wild turkeys the greatest chance of survival,” NWTF District Biologist Annie Farrell said. “Outfitting these two engines provides great support to TPWD biologists and partner agencies in conducting controlled burns and allows for the enhancement of habitat in areas where [the] Eastern Wild Turkey Super Stocking Project is ongoing.”