July 14, 2015
MADISON - More than half a million acres of wild turkey habitat restored and enhanced and nearly half a million acres of pheasant habitat restored and enhanced, mostly on lands open to public access for hunting are among the projects Wisconsin sportspeople have contributed to through the purchase of state wildlife stamps.
For many years, Wisconsin's Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamp programs have provided opportunities for wildlife and habitat management and hunting. Currently, work is about to begin for the most recent cycle of stamp-funded projects.
Turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters are required to purchase a species-specific stamp in order to legally harvest these game birds in Wisconsin, with income supporting habitat management and restoration projects, education, research, equipment purchases, and the administration of species management programs. Non-hunters can also purchase habitat stamps without purchasing a hunting license, thereby contributing to these efforts.
Wild Turkey Stamp funds have been providing opportunities for turkey management in Wisconsin since 1996. Sales of the stamp bring in approximately $750,000 annually, and applications for projects benefitting the state's turkeys are solicited every other year.
"Some fantastic projects will be undertaken in 2016 and 2017," says Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "We'll investigate the influence of landscape characteristics on turkey distribution, restore oak savanna and forest habitat, and create education and outreach materials to further Wisconsin's wild turkey management program, and that's just a sample of the projects selected for funding."
Money from each of the stamp programs is available for projects that are administered by DNR personnel, conservation groups and organizations, and other units of government. Work is about to begin for the 2016-2017 fiscal biennium, and members of the DNR turkey advisory committee recently approved $1.4 million in funding for nearly 50 projects across the state.
Since 1996, $14.5 million has been allocated from the sale of Wild Turkey Stamps funding nearly 1,100 projects statewide, and $12.3 million in cost-share dollars have been allocated to partners for turkey management activities, resulting a more than half a million acres of wild turkey habitat restored and enhanced, mostly on lands open to public access for hunting
Wisconsin's Pheasant Stamp funds have supported ring-necked pheasant management and hunting opportunities since 1992. On average, annual revenues exceed $375,000, with 40 percent of pheasant stamp revenues applied to the restoration and management of wild pheasants in the state. The remaining 60 percent is directed toward the management of the state game farm, which raises pheasants for release on public hunting grounds each fall.
For the 2016-2017 funding cycle, members of the DNR pheasant advisory committee have approved a total of $440,000 in funding statewide. Projects will be undertaken by the DNR Bureaus of Wildlife Management and Natural Heritage Conservation, with additional funding going to external partners such as Pheasants Forever and Wings Over Wisconsin.
Since 1992, $9.7 million has been allocated from pheasant Stamp funding, with $7.5 million in cost-shared dollars to partners, funding more than 450 projects
Since the inception of the Waterfowl Stamp program in 1978, more than $11 million in revenue has been generated supporting wetland habitat projects throughout Wisconsin. Over the next two years, $835,636 will be allocated to 34 waterfowl habitat projects in Wisconsin. Projects will mainly involve wetland restoration, and major maintenance of dikes and dams along waterfowl impoundments.
Additionally, several major projects in Manitoba, Canada will occur over the next two years, benefitting migratory waterfowl that pass through Wisconsin during migration. Ducks Unlimited, and Delta Waterfowl Foundation will be responsible for implementing these Canadian habitat projects, using 33 percent of revenues generated by the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp.
"Purchasing a Waterfowl Stamp is a great way to support waterfowl and wetland conservation here in Wisconsin and in Canada," said to Jason Fleener, DNR wetland ecologist. "The funds not only benefit waterfowl populations for hunting purposes in the state, they also benefit many other birds and wildlife, improve water quality, and provide flood control. Wisconsin's contribution toward Manitoba habitat is a good investment that manages critical habitat in one of the continent's best breeding duck areas, while strategically stretching the dollar and leveraging funds from other conservation partners."
For more information regarding Wisconsin's wildlife stamps, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "wildlife stamps."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista McGinley, 608-261-8458