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For Release: Thursday, June 13, 2019

DEC to Host Public Information Session on Habitat Management Plans at Carlton Hill Multiple Use Area in Town of Middlebury

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information session to provide information and answer questions about the recently completed habitat management plan for the Carlton Hill Multiple Use Area (MUA) in the town of Middlebury, Wyoming County.

The session will take place on Thursday, June 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Wyoming County Cooperative Extension, 36 Center Street, Warsaw, in meeting room LC-1. An open house will take place from 6 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a formal presentation.

"Habitat management plans on our Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) guide our conservation efforts to benefit wildlife and facilitate wildlife-dependent recreation," said DEC Regional Director Abby Snyder. "Lands managed by the Bureau of Wildlife 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 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 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 these actions.

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 WMAMUA biodiversity inventory reports, and Bird Conservation Area guidelines.

Located in the northwestern Cattaraugus Highlands portion of the Appalachian Plateau, Carlton Hill Multiple Use Area (MUA) is a 2,500 acre area composed of abandoned farmland interspersed with scattered small woodlots that provide a variety of habitat types for many kinds of wildlife. DEC will continue active management on this 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 Carlton Hill 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 Carlton Hill MUA can be found on DEC's website. This meeting is wheelchair accessible. Please contact Greg Ecker at (716) 851-7010 with any specific requests for accommodations or for more information regarding this meeting.

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