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For Release: Thursday, September 22, 2016

DEC to Host Public Information Session on Habitat Management Plan for Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information session to answer questions about the recently completed habitat management plan for the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in the town of Cicero, Onondaga County.

The session will take place on Monday, September 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Clay Town Hall, 4401 Route 31 in Clay. The meeting will include a presentation and time for questions. The open house will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the presentation at 6:30 p.m.

"Habitat management plans guide New York State's science-based conservation and protection efforts to benefit wildlife and facilitate recreation by hunters, bird watchers, and more," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Cicero Swamp provides essential habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds, including American woodcock and other wildlife, and the proposed management activities will enhance this area."

Cicero Swamp WMA is currently managed to provide a diversity of wildlife habitats including extensive forested wetlands, regulated impoundments for waterfowl and shorebirds, early-successional shrublands, and grasslands maintained by prescribed fire and mowing. Active habitat management to benefit wildlife populations is fundamental to wildlife management and has been an important component of New York's efforts for decades. DEC launched the Young Forest Initiative in 2015, and this was the catalyst for starting an in-depth planning process for wildlife habitat management projects. Habitat management plans are being developed for all WMAs and other DEC properties, including select Multiple Use and Unique Areas. These plans guide land use management for a 10-year time period, after which time DEC will assess implementation progress and modify the plans as needed.
DEC's Young Forest Initiative aims to establish a minimum of 10 percent of the forested acreage on WMAs as young forest over the next 10 years, and to manage for young forests in perpetuity. Young forests are an important part of the forest landscape that have declined over the past 50 years along with the wildlife that depend on this habitat type. While DEC has been managing forests on WMAs to improve wildlife habitat for many years, with this initiative DEC is increasing its efforts and raising awareness about it.

In addition to incorporating aspects of the Young Forest Initiative, the habitat management plan incorporates recommendations from other sources, including unit management plans, existing WMA habitat management guidelines, best management practices, the New York Natural Heritage Program's WMA biodiversity inventory reports, and bird conservation area guidelines.

DEC will continue active management on Cicero Swamp WMA to benefit wildlife abundance and diversity, and promote best management practices for targeted wildlife and habitats.

The habitat management plan for Cicero Swamp WMA can be found on DEC's website. For more information on this event please contact Adam Perry at (607) 753-3095 x240.

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