Wildlife Wednesday: OTG Wraps Up 2015 Season

MUCC’s On the Ground Program has wrapped up this year’s cycle of events; but don’t worry there are still more opportunities to volunteer for wildlife! We will be at Sharonville State Wildlife Management Area this Sunday, October 11th, removing fencing to make access easier for the planting of native grasses for pheasant habitat! Keep updated with the event calendar and our project list throughout this winter and next year to volunteer and give back to the public land you utilize!

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I want to point out the fantastic work our 366 volunteers put in this year with 20 OTG events to improve wildlife habitat on public land. A total of 2,531 acres of habitat was improved or restored in 14 different state game areas, forests, and a couple of nature preserves all over the state of Michigan; benefiting a variety of game species. These hard-working hunters, anglers, trappers, recreational land users, and young developing minds devoted 1, 764 hours of their time to conserving the lands and wildlife they utilize.

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Volunteers hinge-cut trees on 140 acres of public land this year; putting cover and browse on the ground for whitetail deer, elk, snowshoe hare, and many other species. Approximately 40 new brush piles were built in various state game areas to provide cover for rabbits and other small game. Encroaching timber was cut out of wildlife openings and a coastal plain marsh to restore 50 acres of open areas. Volunteers also removed 10 acres of invasive autumn olive; while many trees were cut, a lot more were planted! Volunteers planted 1,800 mast-producing trees for wildlife.

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OTG took to the water as well, removing approximately 500lbs of trash and debris from sections of the Manistee and Clinton Rivers. Removing these pollutants and barriers will benefit fish as well as aquatic macroinvertebrates and vegetation. Larger debris pulled from the rivers can act as a passage barrier for fish to their spawning sites. Volunteers also removed 420lbs of invasive European frog-bit from a 1 acre launch site at the Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area. This was only a small dent in the area, but will make a big impact on preventing the spread of the plant by removing it from that popular site.

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To each and every volunteer who has come out to help in any way, while there are some tasks that are lighter than others, or volunteering to cook for the group, enduring various pleasant or unpleasant weather and terrain conditions, and unpleasant insect bites/stings; Thank You! I appreciate your time benefitting our public lands and Michigan’s conservation community. I’m very much looking forward to this next great season with MUCC already filling up with events. Make sure to keep up to date with the event calendar (here) and RSVP to volunteer!

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