Contact(s): Anne Reis, DNR Public Lands Specialist, 608-279-6483 firstname.lastname@example.org Jon Steigerwaldt, NRF Wildlife Biologist, 412-720-6033, email@example.com
October 1, 2019
MADISON, Wis. - The Ruffed Grouse Society will provide funding for a dry bluff prairie and oak woodland restoration project at the Five-Mile Bluff Prairie State Natural Area embedded in the Tiffany Wildlife Area along the Chippewa River in Buffalo County.
Five-Mile Bluff Prairie State Natural Area is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. The 194-acre project area within the State Natural Area offers hunting, fishing, primitive hiking and bird watching opportunities, among other opportunities within the larger 13,000-acre Tiffany State Wildlife Area. Goals are to increase native prairie species and invertebrate diversity and connect blocks of habitat in transition areas between prairies.
"The reach of the Ruffed Grouse Society goes beyond ruffed grouse and American woodcock," said Jon Steigerwaldt, Regional Biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society. "Creating, maintaining, and enhancing habitat for game and non-game species is a core objective of our organization, as it meets our goal of improving wildlife habitat and forest health. It just so happens this project will benefit American woodcock."
This project will help to manage eight acres of remnant dry bluff prairie and 186 acres of oak woodlands by removing woody invasive species, including buckthorn and black locust. The work will also help to magnify the impact of future prescribed burns.
"The DNR is pleased to see our partners help provide funding to manage DNR lands across the state," said Aaron Buchholz, DNR Deputy Division Administrator for the Fish, Wildlife and Parks programs. "Announced just a few days after National Public Lands Day, this gift is a great example of how all citizens can contribute to the management of Wisconsin's public lands."
Migrating hawks and eagles can be seen in the spring soaring over the bluffs in the State Natural Area. Prairie forbs like puccoon, bird's-foot violet and grasses such as big and little blue-stem and Indian grass dominate the bluffs. A variety of non-game species are present including red-headed woodpecker, cerulean warbler, eastern whip-poor-will, common nighthawk, Acadian flycatcher and big and little brown bats. Hunters will find numerous game birds such as American woodcock and wild turkey.
"This funding from the Ruffed Grouse Society will go a long way towards our efforts to maintain and restore remnant prairie and oak woodland habitat on Five-Mile Bluff," said Mark Rasmussen, Property Manager. "Partnerships like this are crucial for the continued success of habitat management projects on our public lands in Wisconsin."
The Five-Mile Bluff Prairie project was one of the 10 projects submitted as a part of the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund application process. The Ruffed Grouse Society wanted to extend the reach of the Cherish grant to help do more work on the ground in this next year. Funding for the project comes from the Ruffed Grouse Society Wisconsin State Drummer Fund, a member-raised fund that supports habitat work in each state.
"The Ruffed Grouse Society currently has 30 individual projects in Wisconsin, funded through the State Drummer Fund," said Jon Steigerwaldt, RGS Biologist . "These projects are having a positive habitat impact on approximately 5,000 acres of public lands. With member support, we decided to fund this additional Cherish grant project because we saw it as a way to ensure, now more than ever, that this important habitat work gets implemented."
The Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to promoting conservation ethic by improving wildlife habitat and forest health. Promoting science-based management, RGS works with public and private lands partners to meet that mission.