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For Release: Wednesday, August 15, 2018

DEC to Host Public Information Session on Habitat Management Plans for Keeney Swamp Wildlife Management Area in Allegany County

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding a public information session to provide information and answer questions about the recently completed habitat management plan for the Keeney Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in the town of Birdsall, Allegany County.

The session will take place on Wednesday, August 29, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Wide Awake Club Library, 22 North Genesee Street, (Route 19A) Filmore. An open house will take place from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m., followed by a formal presentation. The meeting will include a presentation about the history of management of Keeney Swamp WMA, a review of specific activities and locations for management actions planned, a brief overview of the Young Forest Initiative, and a question and answer period.

"Keeney Swamp provides essential wetland, marsh and grassland habitat for many birds and other wildlife," said DEC Regional Director Abby Snyder. "Proposed management activities through the young forest initiative will enhance wildlife diversity and abundance in this important habitat area."

The 708-acre Keeney Swamp Wildlife area consists of nearly 470 acres of shrub swamp, emergent marsh, and open water wetlands. The remaining 238 acres consist of upland forest, shrubland, and grassland areas. The area was acquired by DEC in 1972 to ensure the permanent preservation of this diverse natural wetland. In 2006, Keeney Swamp WMA along with Keeney Swamp State Forest were designated as a Bird Conservation 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 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, 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 in Keeney Swamp WMA to benefit wildlife abundance and diversity, promote best management practices for targeted wildlife and habitats, and provide opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation.
The habitat management plan for Keeney Swamp WMA can be found on DEC's website. For more information on this event, please contact Greg Ecker at (716) 851-7010.

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