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Woods & Wildlife for Today & Tomorrow

Golden Sands RC&D is currently implementing the Woods & Wildlife for Today & Tomorrow (WWFTT) project. Through this three-year pilot project, Golden Sands RC&D will help small landowners connect into large cooperatives (larger than 640 acres) where they can work together on woodland and wildlife habitat management.

Under sustainable forest management, landowners manage trees on the property in a way that conserves soil, air and water quality, wildlife and fish habitat, recreation and visual aesthetics. In addition, sustainably managed forests provide wood and pulp products for building, packaging, paper, biomass, and so forth. 

As forest parcels in Wisconsin become more fragmented, small parcel owners are becoming increasing critical stakeholders in managing our forest lands and wildlife habitat in a sustainable manner.  Wisconsin has over 15 million acres of forestland of which 9 million are owned by 367,000 private woodland owners.  

To be effective, forests need to be managed on the landscape scale and across property lines. Through the WWFTT project, our Cooperative Woodland Management Coordinator, Josh Beneš, is working with small landowners so that they can qualify for the economic and environmental benefits of group management. Landowners will collectively enroll into the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) where they will get access to having a site visit from a DNR Wildlife Biologist and Forester. Both the Wildlife Biologist and Forester will provide recommendations for what can be done on the property to improve deer and wildlife habitat. Landowners that currently have forest management plans will have their plans reviewed, and recommendations will be made if small changes to their forest management plan may yield better wildlife habitat. Landowners that do not have forest management plans will be able to access non-regulatory advice on what they could do on their properties to improve wildlife habitat.

Josh worked with landowners to develop management blocks in Waupaca, Adams, Marathon, Monroe, Portage, Waushara, and Wood counties. Josh is currently working on developing a block in Juneau County. Landowners in these cooperatives have the option to work with their neighbors to cut and market their wood, manage for invasive species, or receive assistance for applying for habitat restoration projects. 

Landowners will be provided a report with recommendations for how to improve wildlife habitat. If landowners choose to, they can synchronize goals, cutting schedules, and wildlife habitat management objectives across the management block. Landowners will use their forest and wildlife management plans to implement sustainable practices that will benefit their woods and wildlife for years to come. Through the project, they will also have the option of certifying their forest as sustainable through American Tree Farm, which can help them access new market for certified wood products.

Information for potential landowners can be found here. This information includes specific benefits of joining this project and how to RSVP to landowner meetings.

This project is made possible with support from numerous partners (all indicated in the figure above).

We need you!  More sponsor support is needed.  If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Josh at 715-343-6215, or by email at joshua.benes@goldensandsrcd.org.