Last Thursday, August 11, 2016, Michigan Wildlife Cooperatives partnered with the local DNR field office, Washtenaw and Jackson County Pheasants Forever, and the local Conservation Districts to promote and illustrate grassland habitat on the Sharonville SGA. The effort was in hopes to provide more education on the benefits of grasslands, but also to seek participation in expanding the Pheasant Cooperative that encompasses Sharonville and the surrounding public lands.
The event kicked off with Kristin Bissell, wildlife biologist with the DNR, by talking about the work that has been done over the past few years on the local public land. The local Pheasant Forever Chapters played a major role in these projects, and the Pheasants Forever State Council helped orchestrate the grants to fund those projects. Kristin proceeded to talk about the benefits of grasslands, including soil and water quality, promotion of pollinator species, and the added diversity in habitat that grasslands provide. Grasslands support many wildlife varieties, including pheasants, deer, turkey, song birds, butterflies, and a diverse set of other insects.
Nathan McNett, the Farm Bill Biologist out of the Lenawee and Hillsdale Conservation Districts, talked about programs and services that are available to assist the implementation of grassland habitat. Farm Bill Biologists offer free technical assistance to landowners looking to improve or create grassland habitat. They also know about a whole list of Farm Bill Programs, DNR grants, and other financial assistance that can help to create and maintain grasslands. Contact your local Farm Bill Biologist by clicking here.
The Michigan Pheasants Forever Regional Rep, Bill Vander Zouwen, provided the group with and overview of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, and talked about the value of working together as neighbors to restore quality grassland habitat. He did a great job tying in all of the resources available to help make this possible, leading the way for me to come in and talk about the value of cooperatives, and talk about the resources I am able to provide with MUCC. We talked about the Youth Jamboree on September 11. Click here for more information.
Finally Dennis Tison and Veryl Tisch, with the DNR Wildlife Division, started the habitat tour. The group was able to see a few different fields, and Dennis talked the history of the fields, and the management that has recently taken place.