This Saturday, a group of volunteers will be improving wildlife habitat in the Allegan State Game Area. Various types of wildlife habitat improvement projects have been hosted in the Allegan SGA through MUCC’s On the Ground program over the past five years. Ongoing projects include building brush piles for rabbitat, aspen regeneration, tree plantings for browse and thermal cover, and restoring coastal marsh openings and pine-oak savannas. These OTG projects have engaged volunteers and project partners from different hunting and conservation backgrounds to collectively work towards an ongoing goal of creating better wildlife habitat targeted towards game species as written in the areas wildlife habitat management plans. This weekends project will involve cutting over-mature aspen trees to promote regeneration and utilizing the trunks to build brush piles for rabbitat in the areas Fennville Farm Unit.
Aspen trees benefit several wildlife species in the area including whitetail deer, turkey, grouse, woodcock, cottontail rabbit as well as many non-game and rare species. Young aspen trees and stump sprouts are browsed by deer, even though it is not their most preferred food source. The winter buds of aspen trees also provide food for grouse in the winter. Mature aspen trees have a relatively open canopy that allows some sunlight through to the undergrowth and can provide thick vegetation for browse, but lack in providing cover on the ground. Selecting a few mature aspen trees to cut allows for more sunlight to come through to the undergrowth and regenerate new aspen growth and stump sprouts while also utilizing the trunks to build brush piles for rabbit habitat.
If you would like to be involved in the wildlife habitat improvement project at the Allegan SGA on Saturday, December 2nd or any future projects, RSVP to volunteer at an event at www.mucc.org/on-the-ground or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming events will be posted as they are scheduled throughout the year in various regions of the state. Look for an opportunity to improve wildlife habitat on public land near you!
MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division