Montmorency County Conservation Club Improves Wildlife Habitat

This guest blog comes from Carol Rose, Secretary of the Montmorency County Conservation Club, which recently partnered with the DNR to improve wildlife habitat in northeast Michigan. For additional on-the-ground habitat opportunities, email dyoungedyke@mucc.org or sign up at www.mucc.org/sign-up/michiganotg.
Seven members of the MUCC affiliate Montmorency County Conservation Club joined up with our local DNR wildlife biologist (Jennifer Kleitch, along with a young ACC student “job shadowing” her) for a habitat improvement project out on the Tomahawk Flooding north of Atlanta. 
Tomahawk Osprey Crew
Using two snowmobiles, two trailers, a toboggan, two ladders, scaffolding, several hand tools and a chain saw, two new osprey nesting platforms were installed on snags on the flooding.  This was a bit of a logistical challenge, but it really helps when you have the right tools and the right people using them!  
Serious logistics are required 
For the osprey nesting platforms we found that scaffolding works a whole lot better than working off of step ladders.  We replaced on old platform that had warped and begun to rot with a new platform design that allows for much better drainage and retention of nesting materials.  In this case, when we upended the old, well-used platform to make room for the new one, we gleaned what we could from the old stock of nesting materials once they hit the ice.  Among them we found a smashed sardine can.
Replacement goes up
The second of two platforms went up a lot easier…except it was about a half a mile across the ice and through the snag fields to get there.  Our original plan was to knock down another older one and install as new one there, too, but we found that the support snag wasn’t going to make it much longer.  So, we selected a new one somewhat nearby.  Up went the scaffolding, out came the chain saw to level off the top and we were in business.
Osprey nesting box
In addition to the two nesting platforms, we also mounted four new wood duck nesting boxes that the club had constructed last weekend (along with 150 bluebird houses and a total of 14 wood duck boxes).  Jennifer provided her professional counsel as to location…and the two retired DNR wildlife biologists in our group concurred.
wood duck box
We finished the project by hauling all of our materials back to the staging area on the south side of the lake where we enjoyed a tailgate with hot soup, cheese, crackers, fruit and baked goods.   All in all, this was a memorable example of how an MUCC affiliate club can work hand-in-hand with DNR personnel to improve wildlife habitat here in northeast Michigan.  In truth, it’s what motivated the creation of our club back in 1985.  Now, nearly 30 years later, we are still working together with our colleagues at the DNR on our mutual conservation mission.

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