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For Release: Thursday, August 24, 2017

DEC to Host Public Information Session on Habitat Management Plan for Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information session to provide information and answer questions about a recently completed habitat management plan for the Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in the towns of Catherine, Cayuta and Hector, Schuyler County, and towns of Enfield and Newfield, Tompkins County.

The session will take place on Thursday, September 14th, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Newfield Fire Department, 77 Main St, Newfield, NY 14867. DEC staff will be available for questions from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. A formal presentation will follow.

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. The initiative 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 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 during the last 50 years along with the wildlife that depend on this type of habitat. 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 this type of habitat management.

In addition to incorporating aspects of the Young Forest Initiative, the habitat management plan incorporates recommendations from various 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 Connecticut Hill 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 and bird watching.

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

The habitat management plan for Connecticut Hill WMA can be found on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9331.html.

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