Coraopolis, Pennsylvania – The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is the recipient of $20,000 in funds to continue the River Hills Forest Habitat Project in Central Missouri. This important wildlife habitat management program has benefited ruffed grouse and other wildlife species that require young forest habitat.
A grant of $12,000 has been approved by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDOC) under the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative with the remaining $8,000 being provided through the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Private Lands Program. Matching funds and in-kind services are being provided by the Ruffed Grouse Society, Audubon Missouri and others to this project.
According to Mike Zagata, RGS Executive Director and CEO, “RGS is pleased to be able to continue to work with a variety of partners to support the River Hills Project. The dedicated efforts of our Mid-Missouri RGS chapter members has been a key to the projects success.”
A trend towards reduced forest harvesting and a loss of natural fire has created a deficit of young forest habitat in the area, critically important to ruffed grouse as well as many other wildlife species.
Since 2003, the River Hills Forest Habitat Project has promoted the regeneration of oak/hickory forest habitat in three east-central Missouri counties, Callaway, Montgomery and Warren.
The River Hills Project Area has been identified as an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri and as a Conservation Opportunity Area in the Missouri Wildlife Action Plan.
A key to the success of this project has been the coordination of management efforts on both public and private lands in the River Hills Area. Management has been intensified on six Conservation and Wildlife Management Areas by the MDOC. Private Lands Conservationists and Resource Foresters from the MDOC have also worked closely with private landowners in the area to simultaneously conduct habitat improvements. MDOC Private Lands Conservationist Jamie Barton reports, “As a result of this cooperative effort, over 2,500 acres of habitat has been enhanced in the River Hills Project Area to date. This work is having a positive effect on many bird species in the area.”
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage.
Information on the RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web at: www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.