Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative Goals now available online

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative has developed a document outlining the coalition’s goals for the next several years. Work outlined in the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative Goals for 2016-2020 is already under way.

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative aims to create small game hunting opportunities, increase wildlife populations, improve hunter satisfaction and help Michigan’s economy. Landowners can get involved – and can get technical and financial assistance – by forming cooperatives to create and enhance pheasant habitat.

“It has been exciting to see what the MPRI coalition of partners has been doing over the last few years to improve pheasant habitat, pheasant numbers and pheasant hunting in southern Michigan,” said Bill Vander Zouwen, Pheasants Forever representative and Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative coalition co-chair.

“For example, the Department of Natural Resources bought 917 acres and improved thousands of acres on state game areas, Pheasants Forever provided 75,000 acres of habitat, the U.S .Department of Agriculture farm programs provided nearly 100,000 acres of habitat, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped landowners improve close to 3000 acres,” Vander Zouwen said. “I am really looking forward to seeing what the next five years will bring.”

Some goals included in the document, available online at www.mi.gov/pheasant, include:

Hire an Adopt-A-Game-Area Program coordinator to facilitate accelerated habitat restoration on Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative state lands.

Enhance and restore 5,000 acres of grassland and wetland habitat on Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative priority state lands, 1,400 acres of wetlands through the wetland mitigation bank, 10,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program lands, 1,500 acres of CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement diverse grasslands, 500 acres of CRP SAFE Pollinator lands, 500 acres of Hunting Access Program lands, and over 100,000 more acres on public and private lands through Pheasants Forever, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited and other coalition partner programs.

Host annual public workshops and open houses at premier DNR grassland management properties.

Apply for another federal Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program grant for $2 million to grow the Hunting Access Program.

Advocate for pheasant restoration efforts to continue beyond the 10 years originally planned for the initiative.
“The value of the many partnerships associated with the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative cannot be overstated,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. “These partnerships are key to the success of this initiative. The efforts and support of grassroots neighborhood cooperatives, county conservation districts, national conservation organizations including Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited, and federal and state government agencies have culminated in on-the-ground wildlife habitat improvement projects that help reduce soil erosion and maintain clean water.”

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative is a conservation initiative to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat, populations and hunting opportunities on private and public lands. The initiative works by acquiring state and federal resources to assist landowners within cooperatives in improving wildlife habitat on their property and by improving habitat on selected state game areas, recreation areas and other public and private lands. Initiative partners also work to secure adequate staffing to accomplish habitat improvement, hunter access, education and outreach, hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation, and population monitoring goals. To learn more, visit www.mi.gov/pheasant.