newsforest service receives award for habitat management in bath county

Forest Service receives award for habitat management in Bath County

wild turkey
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The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests’ habitat management in Bath County has been recognized by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

During their 50th anniversary celebration at their annual Convention and Sport Show, the NWTF awarded the forest the “Making Tracks” award in conservation achievements for the Wallace and Marshall Tracts Wildlife Enhancement and Ecosystem Services Stewardship project.

The Wallace and Marshall Tracts are farmland acquired by the Forest Service in the 1960s under the authority of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. Prior to the acquisition, the fields were drained to make the land tillable, which disrupted their natural hydrology. This project integrated hydrology, soils, archeology, fisheries, recreation, timber, fire, and wildlife management disciplines, restoring natural floodplain hydrology and creating early successional habitat.

The Forest Service shared stewardship with multiple partners, including the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Together, these organizations harvested timber, controlled nonnative and invasive species, undertook prescribed fires and restored wetlands. These efforts improved the habitat and benefitted an array of wildlife, including wild turkey, American woodcock and ruffed grouse.

“The National Wild Turkey Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to assist the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest with their management objectives. Kudos to the North River Ranger District team for finding ways to expand their efforts through partnerships. The staff involved are very deserving of this national recognition,” said District Biologist Cully McCurdy.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.