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Shiawassee Refuge Partners with Quality Deer Management Association and Local Landowners
Midwest Region, November 17, 2012
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Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is well known for the quality of its deer herd.
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is well known for the quality of its deer herd. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Restoration of small wetlands provides excellent habitat for deer and waterfowl.
Restoration of small wetlands provides excellent habitat for deer and waterfowl. - Photo Credit: Gary Kramer

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is thinking beyond its boundaries to provide better habitat for wildlife. The refuge is working with the Quality Deer Management Association and neighboring landowners to develop a Wildlife Management Cooperative. The goal is for landowners, refuge staff, state biologists and Association experts to share ideas and information to improve habitat on land within and surrounding the refuge.

Shiawassee Refuge is one of only three national willdife refuges in the United States chosen to be the center tile of a Wildlife Management Cooperative and the only refuge selected in the Midwest Region. The Association received a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to establish these Cooperatives. According to the Association, Shiawassee Refuge qualified because it showed the greatest potential and support from surrounding landowners. The refuge was identified as a centerpiece because of the broad recognition it has earned for the quality of its deer herd and habitat.

Although the Association is focused on sustainable management of white–tailed deer, the management goals can be applied to any species. If one neighbor wants more upland bird hunting opportunities, the next wants great waterfowl hunting and the other is focused on their deer herd, the management model will encompass all those needs. Further, the refuge benefits from the activities of neighbors to achieve these goals.

These activities could include:

  • Enrollment of lands in U.S. Department of Agriculture programs such as Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program to install filter strips or restore wetlands
  • Use of the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program to restore wetlands and grasslands
  • Work with the County Soil Conservation District to reduce fall tillage and leave more food for wildlife, plant native grasses and shrubs as part of Michigan Department of Natural Resource Pheasant Restoration Initiative

The development of this cooperative also has great potential to strengthen community ties. The partnership will provide a vehicle to magnify individual efforts to benefit deer and other wildlife shared between property owners. It will also increase communication and the opportunity to share information. This is especially important to the refuge because neighboring property owners are an audience that the refuge wants to keep particularly well-informed.


Contact Info: Steve Kahl, 989-777-5930, steve_kahl@fws.gov



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