Cooperating for Wildlife Habitat and Forest Health
Proper management of wooded lands is crucial, and Duane Patrick of Marathon County is better able to plan for
her property after a walk through and evaluation by a state forester and wildlife biologist.
The expert advice come as part of a federal pilot project with Golden Sands Resource Conservation and
Development (RC&D) Council that creates cooperatives connecting landowners for better wildlife habitat, land
management and networking with neighbors and state and federal resource specialists.
The RC&D established 10 area cooperatives that cover more than 10,000 acres in eight counties, including
Marathon, through a federal pilot project that used the state’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) as a
foundation for the groups. The project targeted individual pockets of landowners to form the cooperatives.
Golden Sands RC&D Executive Director Joshua Benes, who also serves as project coordinator, helped organize
landowners into group cooperatives of 640 acres or more, which qualified the lands for a Level 3 designation,
allowing landowners to receive site visits from Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife biologists and
foresters. Landowners are then provided personalized recommendations for their property for how they can
improve wildlife habitat and ensure the growth of a healthy forest.
“The experience has been positive,” Patrick said. “This program allowed me and my sons the opportunity to meet
some of our neighbors who have the same interest in woodlands and wildlife.”
In April and May, there will be three workshops on Saturdays at the Mead Wildlife Education and Visitor Center,
2148 County Highway S, Milladore, that will share information about the project and strategies for other
landowners looking to work together. Workshops will begin at 9:30 a.m. and include lunch.
The April 18 workshop will focus on cooperating for wildlife habitat. The May 2 workshop will focus on
cooperating for invasive species control. The May 30 workshop will focus on cooperating for forest management.
To register or learn more, visit Golden Sands RC&D’s website at
https://www.goldensandsrcd.org/woodsandwildlifeworkshops or call 715-343-6215 Ext. 707.