Ruffed Grouse Society raises $80,000 for projects, including local one
For those of us addicted to the out-of-doors, holes in our calendars seem to continually fill with local conservation related events and meetings. Here’s a couple of many that ended up on my list this month and next:
* The Golden Sands Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) held its 26th annual spring Conservation & Sportsman Banquet this week Thursday at Sentry World’s Grand Hall.
Before this chapter’s 1990 banquet, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids were represented by the North Central Wisconsin Chapter of RGS and held fundraising banquets for many years alternating between Rapids and Point. So put together, a local chapter has been raising dollars for almost four decades – and these days, a portion of the money raised in Wisconsin goes towards the Wisconsin Drummer Fund.
The map accompanying this column demonstrates the depth and reach of the Wisconsin Drummer Fund’s efforts across the state, including Portage County. Noted on the most recent list is one project coordinated by our local Golden Sands Resource Conservation & Development Council – the Central Wisconsin Demonstration Forest Project in Green Lake, Outagamie, Portage, Taylor and Wood counties.
According to a RGS press release this week, “Ruffed grouse, American woodcock, golden-winged warblers and numerous other wildlife species require regenerating forest stands that develop following timber harvests and other forest management activities. The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) and its sister organization, the American Woodcock Society (AWS), are pleased to provide $80,340 through the Wisconsin Drummer Fund to 15 outstanding projects in Wisconsin that will enhance habitat for young forest wildlife and increase hunter access to prime hunting areas. Partners will bring an additional $130,000 to complete these projects, resulting in over $210,000 in forest habitat improvements during 2016.
“Over 880 acres will be directly enhanced; funds used to support expanded landowner outreach efforts and forest access road improvements will indirectly support habitat improvements on thousands of additional acres. Over 45 miles of hunter walking trails will also be created or enhanced with these funds. To accomplish these projects, RGS/AWS will partner with the United States Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Class ACT Charter Schools and Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council.
“The Wisconsin Drummer Fund was initiated in 2010, and over $376,000 has been made available to support 85 Wisconsin young forest-related projects enhancing an estimated 8,704 acres of habitat and improving hundreds of miles of hunter walking trails. These funds have been matched by other agencies and organizations resulting in over $1 million worth of projects being funded in Wisconsin since 2010. This year marks the sixth straight year for record funding levels under this program.”
According to John Eichinger, RGS/AWS president and CEO, “Our increasing support for forest conservation work in Wisconsin stems directly from the dedication and investment of our members, who clearly understand the challenges faced by forest wildlife and the need for appropriate management. The Wisconsin Drummer Fund allows RGS/AWS to directly apply our mission of supporting healthy forests, abundant wildlife and sporting traditions to boots-on-the-ground conservation work that enhances both our forested landscapes and the public’s ability to enjoy them.”
* The Stevens Point Gun & Sporting Collectibles Show will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, March 12, at the Izaak Walton Lodge located at 5927 Highway 66 East. Admission is $4.
* Also on my calendar this month is the upcoming meeting of the Portage County Deer Advisory Council, from 6 to 8 p.m. next Thursday, March 16, at the Portage County Annex, 1462 Strongs Ave. County Deer Advisory Councils will review 2016 quotas, permit levels and season structure recommendations on public and private lands. The meeting is open to the public.
Deer population statistics, 2015 harvest results and last winter’s severity will be reviewed. At the March meetings, each council will continue to work toward population objectives through the 2017 deer seasons.
* Next month on Monday, April 11, DNR spring wildlife and fisheries proposed rules hearings and annual Conservation Congress county meetings will be held. There will be 72 public hearings, one in each county, and in our county it will be held at 7 p.m. at the Ben Franklin Junior High Auditorium, 2000 Polk St., Stevens Point.