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For Release: Friday, September 20, 2019

DEC Adopts Habitat Management Plan for Vosburgh Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Public Meeting Set for Oct. 3 in Coxsackie

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public meeting to provide information and answer questions about the adopted habitat management plan for the Vosburgh Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. at the Coxsackie Town Hall, 119 Mansion St., Coxsackie. The meeting will include a presentation about the history of management at Vosburgh Swamp 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 conservation efforts to benefit wildlife and facilitate wildlife-dependent recreation," said DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz. "The Vosburgh Swamp WMA provides valuable habitat that supports important game and non-game species. Planned forest management will provide the opportunity to create young forest habitat needed by many wildlife species experiencing population declines including the American woodcock, a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York State."

Vosburgh Swamp WMA consists of 311 acres in southeastern Greene County. Numerous habitat types can be found on the WMA, including forested uplands, tidal forested wetlands, tidal marsh, freshwater wetlands, and open water. Wildlife species commonly found on the WMA include bald eagle, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, beaver, mallard, and mink. This property is a critical feature of the Hudson River Estuary, providing spawning and nursery habitat for striped bass, American shad, shortnose sturgeon, and alewives. Waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds use the wetlands and marshes as breeding and nesting habitat.

DEC will manage Vosburgh Swamp 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, and bird watching. The habitat management plan for Vosburgh Swamp WMA can be found on DEC's website.

To provide suitable habitat for the various species that depend on young forests, DEC will undertake seed tree timber harvests, which leave a varied level of mature trees remaining for cover and a seed source for natural forest regeneration. The creation of openings in the forest canopy will allow a dense understory of grasses, wildflowers, vines, shrubs, and tree seedlings/saplings to become established. This will provide young forest habitat required by the target species at Vosburgh Swamp WMA.

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.

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 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 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.

For more information about DEC's Young Forest Initiative or the multi-state cooperative Young Forest Project (leaves DEC website) see the previous webpages. For more information about Species of Greatest Conservation Need like the American woodcock, please refer to the State Wildlife Action Plan at the DEC webpage.

The public meeting location is wheelchair accessible. Please contact Selinda Brandon at (607) 652-7367 with any specific requests for accommodations and for more information about the meeting or the habitat management plan.

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