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For Release: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

DEC to Host Public Information Session on Habitat Management Plan at Harwood Lake Multiple Use Area

Session Scheduled for Wednesday, February 28

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that it is hosting a public information session to provide information and answer questions about the recently completed habitat management plan for the Harwood Lake Multiple Use Area (MUA) located in the town of Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, on Feb. 28, 2018.

The session will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Franklinville High School, 31 North Main Street (Route 16), Franklinville. An open house will take place from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m., followed by a formal presentation in Room 215.

"Habitat management plans on our Wildlife Management Areas/Multiple Use Areas guide our science-based conservation and protection efforts to benefit wildlife and facilitate wildlife-dependent recreation," said DEC Regional Natural Resources Supervisor Paul McKeown. "State Lands provide essential habitat for many birds and other wildlife, and the proposed management activities will enhance this special area."

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. The launch of the Young Forest Initiative in 2015 was the catalyst for starting an in-depth planning process for wildlife habitat management projects. Habitat management plans are being developed for all Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) 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 WMA/MUAs 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, 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 WMA/MUAs 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 integrates recommendations from various other sources including unit management plans, existing WMA/MUA 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 Harwood Lake MUA to benefit wildlife abundance and diversity, promote best management practices for targeted wildlife and habitats, and provide opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation.

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

The habitat management plan for Harwood Lake MUA can be found on DEC's website. For more information on this event, please contact Greg Ecker at (716) 851-7010 or email region9@dec.ny.gov.

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