DNR launches incentive program for landownersPublished Monday, February 26, 2007 4:14:12 PM Central Time
LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering private landowners interested in expanding habitat diversity on their property assistance through the Landowner Incentive Program.
LIP is a private lands program that helps re-establish mesic conifers in the Upper Peninsula.
Mesic conifers, primarily white pine and hemlock, were over-harvested in the early 1900s because of their value from lumber products and for leather tanning purposes.
The species has declined by nearly 80 percent, which has led to a subsequent decrease in at-risk wildlife species such as the red-shouldered hawk, northern goshawk and cerulean warbler. The trees also provide thermal and escape cover for other game and non-game wildlife species, including deer.
"Since the program's inception in 2004, 1.1 million trees have been planted over 4,299 acres in the Upper Peninsula," said Bill Moritz, chief of the DNR Wildlife Division. "We are proud of these efforts and thankful that private landowners want to help us restore mesic conifers on the landscape."
About 50 percent of the U.P. land area is privately owned and is critical habitat to a variety of wildlife species. The program is dedicated to providing sound technical assistance in sustainable timber management, soils, wetlands, waterfowl ponds and food plots. A "Natural Resources Plan," which contains DNR recommendations for habitat improvement, is written upon request.
In addition, financial support is available to provide mesic conifer seedlings and planting labor for highly ranked properties. Little to no cost is incurred by the landowner. The program primarily is funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with a partial DNR match.
"LIP provides the opportunity to identify common habitat enhancement goals and to work cooperatively across multiple ownerships to meet those goals here in the U.P.," said western U.P. District Supervisor Robert Doepker. "To date, we have written over 25 resource plans and provided technical assistance to more than 10,000 acres."
People with a minimum of 40 acres whose land falls within a priority area, or those with 200 acres outside of the priority area, may call Kevin Swanson, DNR wildlife habitat biologist, at 906-226-1357.
Priority areas for the U.P. are listed on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.
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