Grants: Wildlife Stewardship

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A Planning Tool for Sustaining and Improving the Health of Saginaw Bay’s Coastal Habitat

May 2005

This project, sponsored by Ducks Unlimited, developed a planning methodology for enhancing and conserving the ecological health of coastal habitat areas along Saginaw Bay. This project provided information about significant wetland types as well as increased community awareness of the importance of sustaining the ecological health of coastal habitats.

All Bird Planning for Spring Stopover Sites in the Saginaw Bay Watershed

Sep 2004

This project identified important habitats that are needed by migrating birds in our region. To promote science based identification and planning of critical spring stop over sites, this grant supported the necessary literature review and interviews of recognized experts to produce an annotated bibliography and summary list of attributes for all bird groups; and developed the spatial, landscape level targeting map for habitat conservation and protection of critical spring stopover habitat.

Highway Borrow Pit Restoration and Enhancement Demonstration

May 2004

Abandoned highway borrow pits are common throughout the region. Most fall into public ownership and are only marginally suitable for public recreation purposes or wildlife habitat. The Cody-Estey Road pit in Bay County has been selected as a pilot borrow pit restoration site. This demonstration showed how borrow pit areas can be metamorphosed into productive habitat areas for fish and wildlife as well as be aesthetically pleasing areas for public recreation. This project established a gated parking area, completed brush clearing, excavated shallow water areas, established an access drive, and re-vegetated the grassland and provides shrub plantings. A sign that describes the demonstration and recognizes sponsors was erected at the site.

Saginaw Bay WIN Outdoor Education Partnership

Apr 2004

This project supported the joint administration (U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited – Great Lakes) of a project designed to restore wetland and grassland habitats as outdoor classrooms on elementary, middle, and high school lands in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. This project intends to develop 5 to 10 educational facilities, as well as provide associated supplies (binoculars, dip nets, text materials) that will assist in interpretation of the educational areas, as well as discuss sustainable concepts and why wildlife habitat conservation and appreciation is an important component of the educational process.

Invasive Brush Control for the Enhancement of CREP Grassland Restorations

Nov 2000

The U.S.D.A. has spent $2.5 million to administer a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) which has restored over 25,000 acres of wetland/grassland complexes in the Saginaw Bay Watershed during 2001 and 2002. Portions of these restorations are vulnerable to brush invasion during early stages of establishment if they are near wooded areas. In order to establish the desired plant communities, brush must be controlled either by mowing or application of Garlon 3A herbicide. Chemical spot treatment during the first year or two of restoration appear to be the most effective and least costly means of control identified thus far. The grant funds will be used to hire contractors who have the training and experience to identify target species without injuring the desired prairie and wetland species. Currently brush control is not an eligible practice under the CREP program. This project will demonstrate to CREP administrators the need for brush control funding in future CREP programs. Grasslands are important habitat for small mammals, which are an important food source for red-tailed hawks, marsh hawks, short-eared owls, red fox, and coyotes. Grasslands provide nesting cover for Henslow, grasshopper, and vesper sparrows, meadowlarks, bobolinks, bobwhite quail, pheasants, and several species of ducks.

Wood Ducks in the Watershed

Nov 2000

Bob Kraut, fifth grade teacher at Bay City’s Washington Elementary School, developed this innovative program designed to teach youth about wildlife and the outdoors. Through the Wood Ducks in the Watershed project, fifth graders build and place approximately 60 wood duck nesting boxes per year on area public and private lands. High school students from Bay City Western and Bay City Central high schools are mapping, repairing, and collecting data from the boxes. Information that students collect is passed on to local and state agencies for statistical research purposes. This is an ongoing project that is funded outside of the school budget.

Huron County No-Till Drill Challenge

Nov 2000

This project challenged additional funders to participate in the purchase of a no-till drill for the Huron County Conservation District. The no-till drill was purchased and is now made available (rented) to farms within 5 miles of Saginaw Bay that have undisturbed corn residuals remaining from the previous year’s farming operations. Farms that have participated in the Conservation Tillage for Water Quality and Wildlife project are given priority. The intent of the project was to show farmers the benefits of no-till farming such as reduced fuel costs, reduced labor costs, reduced wear on equipment, reduced need for a large inventory of equipment, increased soil productivity and increased wildlife use on the land. It is expected that 10,000 acres will be under no-till operations yearly by use of this device.

Invasive Brush Control on Private Grasslands

Nov 2000

This was a pilot project to control brush on private lands in Huron, Tuscola, and Saginaw counties. In cooperation with Pheasants Forever, a Conservation District agent maintained brush control records and prepared educational information on the values of grasslands for wildlife and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool. Priority was be given to native prairies, proximity to wetlands, and invasive exotics – in that order.

Conservation Tillage for Water Quality and Wildlife

Nov 2000

This project was designed to encourage landowners to leave corn stubble on farmed fields undisturbed over the winter for the purposes of wildlife food and habitat, as well as to control erosion. This specific grant was used to provide administrative/educational funding to the Saginaw Bay RC&D and Soil Conservation District for the Waterfowl Food Plot project currently in progress and funded by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The educational efforts of the Conservation District included slide presentations, newsletters, leaflets and verbal descriptions to farmers of residue benefits during the administrative activities. Innovative Farmers, a group who currently provides technical conservation information directly to other farmers, also assisted in the implementation of this project.

Wolf Creek Riverine Wetland Restoration

Nov 2000

This project assisted in the restoration of the hydrology of a prior-converted wetland at the Shiawassee State Game Area. This project restored this area to a functioning wetland system by installing a 24 inch diameter culvert and riser through the dike to connect the wetland area with the river. This project has was idenitifed as a priority in the WIN Habitat Framework, and is located beneath the 585’ contour as recommended in the study.

Raptor Housing Project

Oct 2000

The Wildlife Recovery Association (WRA)offers programs that promote interest in wildlife and participate in wildlife events at various nature centers, businesses and outdoor events. This particular project focused on their Birds of Prey program and and funded the repair of the housing used for these birds that were built 25 years ago. The cages funded by this grant will helped WRA reach more than 20,000 people each year with quality, award winning programs.

Habitat Protection Plan

Nov 1999

Project partners developed an integrated Habitat Protection Plan that coordinates and leverages the efforts of the entities working in the watershed, identify priority habitat areas and recommend sample projects.