Partnership highlights shared stewardship

TENNESSEE – A long-standing partnership between the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests and the National Wild Turkey Federation was recently recognized by a 2018 National Wild Turkey Federation Making Tracks Award in the category of “Partnership Achievement-Group.” The award highlights accomplishments in strengthening and expanding the partnership between the Forest Service and NWTF.

On the Green Mountain National Forest three Challenge Cost Share Agreements have been executed between the two organizations, two of which have been fully implemented, resulting in 225 acres being managed/enhanced. The third agreement is active through 2022. So far, a 5.5 acre forest opening project was completed in July 2018 and 8 acres of pollinator habitat is scheduled to be complete this spring. The focus of these agreements is on vegetation management and habitat improvement for wild turkeys and associated wildlife species with emphasis on oak/history and northern hardwood forests.  Activities under the agreements include: aspen regeneration, forest opening/early successional habitat creation and maintenance, and creation/improvement of pollinator habitat.

On the Finger Lakes National Forest, a new Stewardship Agreement was executed in the fall of 2018 which includes a variety of forest habitat restoration activities that will result in improved habitat for wild turkey and other wildlife species.  Activities include: stand improvement, invasive species control, prescribed burning, site preparation, mastication and riparian habitat improvement work.  This Stewardship Agreement covers 263 acres, which equates to almost 2% of the entire acreage on the Finger Lakes National Forest.  In addition to the stewardship agreement, the NWTF and Finger Lakes NF have partnered with others to restore instream and riparian habitat in the Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake watersheds in New York.  This project has resulted in improved water quality and aquatic habitat. 

Another important outcome of this partnership has been public education, outreach and interpretation activities. Examples of these activities include: interpretive signage highlighting aspen regeneration and forest openings, events featuring key habitat restoration messaging, landowner field days, and workshops focused on land conservation.

These successes are shared with partners who contributed funding and time. They include: local New York and Vermont NWTF chapters, Northeast NWTF staff, Wildlife Management Institute, USFWS, Bayer Crop Science, consulting foresters, state agencies and other non-profit partners.

interprestative sign instaslled In Green Lakes National Forest. The sign's title reads "Aspen Stand Enhancement"
Interpretative sign installed at a North Branch Stewardship Project, Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests. Photo courtesy of National Wild Turkey Federation. USDA Forest Service photo.
An area has been cleared of vegetation. In the distance, one can see the forest edge and further back, a mountain range.
Forest Opening Work on the Rochester Ranger District of the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, August 2017. Photo courtesy of National Wild Turkey Federation. USDA Forest Service photo.