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For Release: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DEC to Host Public Meeting for Stockport WMA Habitat Management Plan

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public meeting to provide information and answer questions about a habitat management plan for the Stockport Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in the towns of Stockport and Greenport, Columbia County.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 29th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Stockport Town Hall, 2787 Atlantic Avenue, Hudson.

The meeting will include a presentation about the history of management on Stockport WMA, specific activities and locations for the management actions planned for the WMA, a brief overview of the Young Forest Initiative, and a question and answer period.

"Habitat management plans for the state's Wildlife Management Areas guide our science-based conservation and protection efforts to benefit wildlife and facilitate wildlife-dependent recreation," said DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz. "The Stockport WMA provides essential habitat for a suite of birds and other wildlife, and the proposed management activities will enhance this special area."

The Stockport WMA consists of 354 acres in western Columbia County. Numerous habitat types can be found on the WMA, including grasslands, shrublands, forested uplands, small areas of freshwater wetlands, and tidal marshes located along the banks of the Hudson River.

The Stockport WMA habitat management plan calls for managing approximately four percent of the WMA as young forest to promote wild turkey, American woodcock, and white-tailed deer habitat. In addition, the plan calls for maintaining about 41.5 percent as mature forested habitat, 37.5 percent as grasslands, 12.1 percent as early successional shrublands, and about 5.8 percent as wetlands.

Beginning in 2015, DEC initiated a holistic planning process for wildlife habitat management projects brought about by the Young Forest Initiative. 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 decade, and to manage for young forests in perpetuity. Young forests are an important part of the forest landscape, but they 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, DEC is increasing its efforts and raising awareness about this type of habitat management.

In addition to incorporating aspects of the Young Forest Initiative, the habitat management plan incorporates recommendations from various 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 Stockport WMA to benefit wildlife abundance and diversity, promote best management practices for targeted wildlife and habitats, and provide opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation such as hunting, trapping, fishing and bird watching.

The habitat management plan for Stockport WMA can be found on DEC's website. For more information about the meeting or habitat management plan, please contact Selinda Brandon at (607) 652-7367.

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