This week, 74 volunteers helped wrap up MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program’s 2016 season by completing the final habitat projects to make a total of 20 habitat projects completed this year. On Saturday, a group of 24 volunteers partnered with Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) Ecologist, Jesse Lincoln, to help his work of restoring an oak-pine barren in the Allegan State Game Area. Then, on Tuesday, a group of 50 students from Ravenna High School’s Plant Science classes volunteered to improve aspen regeneration in the Muskegon State Game Area. These groups were extremely productive and although the work may seem small, the impact on conservation of public land wildlife habitat is far greater.
by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC
When I was in college, I worked for the DNR Wildlife Division as a Student Assistant. This position formulated a lot of my early views on hunting, management, and the purpose of a State Agency. I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the views of various hunting groups over the years I worked for the Division. I also had the opportunity to see what decision making and management issues look like from the inside of DNR. One of the major issues that came to light while working for the Division was feral swine, according to Wildlife Chief Russ Mason, the Asian Carp of the forest and field. While there was a lot of initial activity and response to the issue when DNR initially promoted this issue, and the threats these swine create, the activity has since drastically declined, and public interest seems to have waned. Feral swine are a problem for two main reasons: they can host many parasites and diseases that threaten humans, domestic livestock and wildlife; and they can cause extensive damage to forests, agricultural lands and Michigan's water resources.