Bring In Wildlife

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Landowners who wish to see more wildlife on their prop­erty should start with improv­ing wildlife habitat, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, and there’s a federal program specifically designed to help landowners with the cost.

The Glades and Woodlands Restoration Regional Conser­vation Partnership Program (RCPP) is a federal program that provides funding spe­cifically for development of glade and woodland wildlife habitat on private land.

Glades are natural com­munities which provide high-quality habitat for sev­eral priority bird species in­cluding the Prairie Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Field Sparrow, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Glades also are important to several plant and animal spe­cies of conservation concern such as Yellow Coneflower, Stiff Sunflower, Missouri Primrose and Ladies’-tress­es, lichen grasshopper, glade grasshopper and the Eastern collared lizard.

These lizards can only survive on desert-like ecosys­tems such as glades,” said Ju­lie Norris, MDC private lands conservationist. “They’re very cool to see. When threat­ened, they escape by running upright on their hind legs to a nearby rock.”

Norris said now is the time to look for collared lizards in glade areas, as they’re most active April through Septem­ber.

MDC, USDA and NRCS partner to provide more than $700,000 to private landown­ers through RCPP when im­provements are made to wild­life habitat and water quality on forest lands.

This funding is in its fourth year of the five-year program,” said Norris. “The purpose of RCPP is to further the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resources by provid­ing cost share and incentives to Missouri private landown­ers dedicated to restoring glade and woodland habitats.”

Norris said any Missouri landowner who wants to im­prove the natural resources on their property would benefit from this program.

She said though landown­ers sometimes think it’s best to leave forested areas alone, it’s when properties go un­managed that the woodland and glade habitats become overgrown with trees and lose wildlife benefits.

The woodlands become too thick for sunlight to reach the ground and the glades be­come encroached with cedars, elm and hickory leaving both habitats barren of grasses and forbs,” Norris said.

Just by thinning the woods and cutting the cedars off glades, sunlight can reach the ground once again and that sunlight produces desirable grasses, wildflowers and oth­er forbs that draw in insects for turkey and produce a vari­ety of browse for deer.”

Other opportunities exist in the RCPP program such as funding to add water to a property that may be lacking a water source for wildlife, funding to hire contractors to create firebreaks and conduct prescribed burns, and fencing to fence cattle out of sensitive areas.

Norris said Missouri land­owners who participate in the program are eligible to re­ceive 90% funding for these specific projects.

For more information about working with MDC to devel­op wildlife habitat on private land, go online to https://mdc.mo.gov/property.

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