Prescribed Fire Projects

One key to successful habitat projects is forging solid partnerships between multiple agencies. From wildlife and non-governmental agencies to government agencies, private landowners and conservation groups, dividing the massive work between agencies provides improvements to habitats on a larger scale at a much faster pace. Our Big Six focal regions have seen considerable improvements because of those partnerships.

Prescribed fire projects

Cooperative burn plans on public land will have lasting effects on wildlife

Focal Regions: Crossroads and Mid-South Rebirth

Focal Landscapes: Missouri/Iowa Oaks, Shawnee Hills and Ozarks

Overall cost estimate of completed project: $310,793 (NWTF contribution $49,960)

Description: Provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat in the Missouri/Iowa Oaks of Missouri and Shawnee National Forest in Illinois • Timber stand improvement and prescribed fire on private lands in Missouri’s Adair, Putnam, Schuyler and Sullivan counties, and the Ava District of the Mark Twain National Forest • Timber stand improvement, prescribed burning and herbicide control of invasive plants on private lands in Illinois’ Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Pope, Saline and Union counties to reverse and prevent forest conversion from oak/hickory to maple/beech habitats in the Shawnee Hills • Prescribed fire program on the Mark Twain and Shawnee National Forests helped treat 13,000 acres beyond the normal rate

Partners: MO/IA Oaks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, Southern Illinois Prescribed Burn Association, Shawnee Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc., and USDA Forest Service

Focal Region: Southern Piney Woods

Focal Landscape: Southern Flatwoods

Overall cost estimate of completed project: $62,244 (NWTF contribution $20,007)

Description: Controlled burning of more than 2,200 acres to reduce understory and mid-story hardwoods in Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee • Improve brood-rearing cover for ground-nesting birds, including wild turkeys and bobwhite quail • Bachman’s sparrow, red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise and other species are expected to benefit from the project

Partners: USDA Forest Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Forest Service

Focal Region: Western Wildlands

Focal Landscape: North Coast Range

Overall cost estimate of completed project:  $60,000 (NWTF contribution $29,800)

Description: Reduce invasive weeds, such as yellow star-thistle and Medusa head, in the oak valleys and meadows on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Knoxville Wildlife Area • Increase nesting and foraging habitat quality for wild turkeys, California quail and black-tailed deer • 60 acres have been prepared for removal of invasive plants and will be replanted with native perennial grass species

Partners: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, CALFIRE and California Deer Association

Focal Region: Great Open Spaces

Focal Landscape: Upper Missouri

Overall cost estimate of completed project:  $150,000 (2017) (NWTF contribution $6,000)

Description: Prescribed fire and mechanical habitat treatment to remove encroaching conifer trees and from shrub and sagebrush habitat on portions of the Missouri Breaks’ public lands in Montana • Restore beneficial shrubs, forbs and grasses • Increase plant diversity, foraging habitat and nesting/security cover • For the past seven years, the NWTF helped treat about 18,000 acres in the Missouri/Musselshell region with a goal of 50,000 acres in the focal landscape over the next 10 years • 2,500 acres are scheduled for treatment this year • Benefits wild turkeys, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, bighorn sheep, sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and other wildlife

Partners: Bureau of Land Management and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Focal Region: Colonial Forests

Focal Landscape: Central Appalachian Mountains

Overall cost estimate of completed project: $10,750 (NWTF contribution $2,750)

Description: Prescribed fire is one of 15 tasks in the Wallace/Marshall Stewardship Project on the North River Ranger District of the George Washington National Forest in Bath County, Virginia, near unincorporated Williamsville • Prescribed fire on 320 acres to maintain grasslands and native shrubs and reduce nonnative plant species • NWTF’s role includes contracting work and maintaining 4.2 miles of prescribed fire retention lines • Line preparation is scheduled to occur three times over the life of the project for six years through 2019 • American woodcock and grassland bird species, including golden-winged warblers and wild turkeys, benefit from this work, as do white-tailed deer.

Partners: USDA Forest Service, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, The Ruffed Grouse Society, and Conservation Services, Inc.

Focal Region: Mid-South Rebirth

Focal Landscape: Ozark

Overall cost estimate of completed project: More than $1.5 million (NWTF contribution $50,000)

Description: The Bearcat Hollow Stewardship Agreement, helped by the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest’s Big Piney Ranger District, is enhancing thousands of acres of Arkansas habitat • Create 60 wildlife openings totaling more than 1,100 acres • Second phase work includes: bush hogging, planting native warm-season grasses and native shrubs, liming and fertilizing • More thinning, large-scale controlled burns and woodland restoration are planned through the remainder of the five-year agreement near the Pelsor and Witts Spring townships • Began in 2009 to conserve and enhance elk habitat, but benefits wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits and bears, as well as bird species, such as doves, red-headed woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, brown-headed nuthatches, summer tanagers and many warblers.

Partners: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Forest Foundation, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy

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