DEC to hold March 27 meeting on plans for wildlife management areas in Genesee, Orleans

Posted 21 March 2019 at 1:42 pm

Press Release, Department of Environmental Conservation

TOWN OF ALABAMA – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will host a public information session to provide information and answer questions about recently completed habitat management plans for John White Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located in the town of Alabama, Genesee County, and Oak Orchard WMA, located in the towns of Alabama and Oakfield, Genesee County, and the towns of Barre and Shelby, Orleans County.

The session will take place on Wednesday, March 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Town of Alabama Fire Department (Station 1), 2230 Judge Road, in the hamlet of South Alabama. The session will begin with an informal open house from 6:30 to 7 p.m., with DEC staff available for discussion. A formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m.

The fire department is wheelchair accessible. Please contact DEC Biologist Michael Palermo at (585) 226-5383 with any specific requests for accommodations.

“DEC is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing wildlife habitats on the John White and Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Areas to benefit declining wildlife species like black terns, sedge wrens, and least bitterns, and popular game animals like pheasant, turkey, and deer,” said Regional Director Paul D’Amato. “We look forward to engaging with the public about these habitat management plans and continuing to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation.”

John White WMA consists of 329 acres that are primarily grassland in the Town of Alabama. Large grasslands are a relatively scarce habitat type in Western New York, and the grasslands on the WMA are important to several species, including bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, horned larks, northern harriers, and short-eared owls.

Oak Orchard WMA consists of 2,554 acres that are primarily wetland in the towns of Barre and Shelby, Orleans County; towns of Oakfield and Alabama, Genesee County; Town of Newstead, Erie County; and Town of Royalton, Niagara County.

Wetlands on the WMA are extensive and diverse, composed of emergent marsh, scrub-shrub swamp, and forested wetlands. Some large grassland fields also occur on this WMA.

Habitat management goals for both WMAs are to maintain a diversity of wetland and upland habitats that benefit a wide range of resident and migrating wildlife species, including several rare and declining species.

DEC will continue to actively manage these WMAs to benefit wildlife, while using best management practices. Planned management activities include: (1) timber harvests to improve forest health; (2) manipulation of water-levels in wetland impoundments; (3) mowing and replanting of grassland fields; and (4) control of invasive plant species.

The meeting will include a presentation about the history of management on these WMAs, specific activities and locations for the planned management actions, an overview of forest habitat management, and a question and answer period.

The habitat management plan for John White WMA can be found on DEC’s website. The habitat management plan for Oak Orchard WMA can also be found on DEC’s website. For more information about this event please call (585) 226-5383.

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