Let’s take a look at what volunteers accomplished with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program in 2016. A total of 300 volunteers, not including the DNR Wildlife Biologists or Technicians, dedicated 27,600 hours to improve about 350 acres of wildlife habitat on Michigan’s public land this year. The quota of coordinating and completing 20 wildlife habitat improvement projects was met. Projects were completed at 13 different State Game Areas, covering all regions of the Lower Peninsula and one region of the Upper Peninsula as well. MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program has returned to many of the same SGA’s since the start of the program in 2013, but reached 6 new areas this season as well!
Wildlife Habitat Improved:
A lot of wildlife habitat was restored, maintained, or improved in both forested and grassland/savanna type habitats. Here are the logistics of what volunteers accomplished on Michigan’s public lands this year:
- 66 brush piles constructed to provide cover for cottontail rabbits and other small game
- 1,500 mast-producing trees and shrubs and conifers planted to provide browse and cover for whitetail deer, black bear, elk, grouse, pheasants, and small game.
- 175 trees hinge-cut for to provide horizontal cover for snowshoe hare
- 73 acres of aspen cutting to promote regeneration
- 22.5 acres of wildlife openings maintained by removing encroaching trees and shrubs
- 40 acres of wild apple orchard pruned to promote healthy soft mast production
- 11 miles of river habitat cleaned up on the Manistee and Clinton Rivers
MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program has revisited these areas since its start in 2013:
- Allegan SGA
- Crane Pond SGA
- Fulton SGA
- Gratiot-Saginaw SGA
- Grayling State Forest
- Pigeon River Country State Forest
- Rose Lake SGA
New areas targeted this year:
- Barry SGA
- Haymarsh Lakes SGA
- Muskegon SGA
- Petobego SGA
- Shingleton State Forest
- Tuscola SGA
Among 300 volunteers this year, these individuals dedicated an outstanding amount of time and effort to give back to the public lands they utilize for hunting, recreation, or teaching others.
- Bethy Williams- Bethy dedicated a total of 17 Saturdays to volunteer for wildlife! That’s over 70 hours volunteered to improve wildlife habitat on many of Michigan’s public lands. Thank you for being a true SuperVolunteer and conservationist with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program.
- Larry Dame- Larry dedicated 3 Saturdays to improving wildlife habitat by building brush piles for cottontail rabbits in Southwest Michigan. He plays a large role in the success of the Crane Pond Youth Rabbit Hunt as well. Thank you, Larry!
- Steve Waksmundzki- Steve also dedicated 3 Saturdays to improving wildlife habitat by building brush piles for cottontail rabbits in Southwest Michigan. His girlfriend, Linda, generously supported him by tagging along to cook for volunteers at one of the events. Steve also plays a large role in the success of the Crane Pond Youth Rabbit Hunt as well. Thank you, Steve!
- Bill Dawson- Bill, accompanied by his wife Denise, represented Team Rubicon and volunteered to bring his personal tractor equipment for a fencing removal project in the Allegan SGA. Thank you and I am looking forward to future projects with you, Bill!
Project Partner Highlights:
These organizations, school groups, conservation clubs, and corporate groups made many of the wildlife habitat improvement projects possible this year:
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- MUCC Members and Club Affiliates
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Michigan Gone Wild
- National Wildlife Federation
- National Wild Turkey Federation
- Ruffed Grouse Society
- UP Whitetails
- Michigan Natural Features Inventory-Ecologist Jesse Lincoln
- Metro West Steelheaders
- Boy Scout Troops in SW Michigan
- MSU-Glassen Scholars
- GVSU-The Wildlife Society
- Midland-Dow High School-Conservation Club
- Ravenna High School-Plant Science Classes
- Reese High School-Out of Doors Club
This is just a basic recap of the 2016 season of MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program events ranging from December 2015 through September 2016. Volunteers from a variety of hunting and recreation backgrounds, locations, and organizations are important to the success of this program with the common goal of improving wildlife habitat on our public lands. Again, a huge “Thank You!” goes out to everyone that participated this year and in previous years. I’m very proud of the work that has been accomplished with this program and look forward to continuing it with the upcoming project seasons! Keep updated with upcoming project details for the 2016-2017 season at www.mucc.org/ontheground