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Wild Link Project Rejuvenates Woodcock and Grouse Habitat

April 1, 2005

Located along the Maple River in Emmet County, the Maple River Farm is a prime example of an ecological corridor which provides the habitat components needed by wildlife populations to thrive. Landowner Paul Keiswetter and Farm Manager Cindy Drier are participating in the Conservation Resource Alliance's Wild Link Program which helps landowners improve wildlife habitat on their property.

Wild Link focuses on parcels which fall within ecological corridors, or pathways of habitat. These privately owned corridors provide the critical connections between larger protected public properties. "By participating in Wild Link, landowners are helping to support wildlife not only on their property, but also the populations within their watershed region and beyond," stated Jeff Breuker, Wild Link Project Manager. "We really appreciate the involvement of private landowners in helping achieve Wild Link's goal of protecting and enhancing these corridors."

This implementation project focused on improving American woodcock and ruffed grouse habitat. A steady decline in woodcock populations over the last 40 years is
blamed on habitat loss due to development and aging forest types. To help with restoration efforts, the first phase of a 50-acre rotational mowing pattern was
implemented to maintain the young, thick, and protective cover necessary for better survival rates. Equipment operators used the Gyro-Trac pictured below to clear 15
small areas totaling 10 acres. When spring arrives and sunlight is able to reach ground level, these clearcuts will erupt with thick growth of new sprouts.

Financial support for this project was provided through a grant from the Frey Foundation of Grand Rapids. Other financial support for the Wild Link Program has come from private sources such as area sportsmen groups and Petoskey Plastics and public grant funds from the Clean Michigan Initiative Funds, the Michigan Coastal Management Program, the Great Lakes Coastal Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program of the U.S Department of Agriculture, and the Michigan Department of Transportation, Transportation Enhancement Program.

Established in 1968, CRA is a private, non-profit organization that coordinates sensible stewardship of the land throughout northwest Michigan. The Conservation Resource Alliance has coordinated river restoration projects for over 30 years throughout northwest Michigan. For more information about projects or how you can get involved, visit CRA's web site at www.rivercare.org.


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Conservation Resource Alliance

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10850 Traverse Highway, Suite 1180
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231-946-6817

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