New partnership efforts manage to Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area

New partnership efforts manage to Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area
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News Release

U.S. Forest Service

Savannah River
PO Box 700,
New Ellenton, SC 29809www.fs.usda.gov/savannahriver

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Media Contact: Kara Davis 803-725-5835kara.davis2@usda.gov

Aiken, SC, Aug. 1, 2019 – The US Forest Service at Savannah River (FSSR), Department of Energy, National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), The Longleaf Alliance (LLA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) came together, June 20, 2019, onsite at Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area. These organizations agreed to develop a memorandum agreement, to work in unison, for improving wildlife habitat. Habitat management techniques, when implemented, should enhance wildlife ecosystems and populations, recreational opportunities, and hunting, too.

The DOE owns the Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve. This contiguous 10,700-acre tract of land is teeming with resources sought by the public. The SCDNR has been tasked as the lead with regards to wildlife management. While woodland management, including prescribed fire, is charged to the USFS. Unlike most of the Savannah River Site, access to the Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area has been available for public use since 1999.

In the past, opportunities to enhance wildlife habitat within the WMA occurred due to timber harvests, prescribed burns, and road construction often coordinated by the US Forest Service. The new partnership plans to increase land management and habitat treatments to improve deer, doves, and wild turkey hunting opportunities. The LLA wants to remove non-native tree species, to facilitate ecosystem restoration by planting native longleaf pine. SCDNR proposes to clear areas to create additional turkey and dove habitat.

this unique location to improve the preferred habitat of multiple species, such as gopher tortoise, gopher frogs, bobwhite quail, various songbirds and Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers all can benefit from prescribed fire.

FSSR is collaborating with conservation organizations, to increase funding and resources for public events held at Crackerneck WMA. Special emphases groups, like wounded warriors, veterans, disabled/mobility impaired individuals, and first responders have attended exclusive events to participate in fishing, deer, and turkey hunting inside of the Savannah River Site. These events are designed to produce a first-class experience that foster lasting memories and friendships in our local communities.

Partnering agencies recognize the benefits of collaboration to create additional opportunities for general public use on state lands.

Wildlife manager, Tal Mims said, “SCDNR, has done a tremendous job maintaining and expanding Crackerneck WMA. It’s a wonderful place for hunters and the public to visit and enjoy. Hopefully with the new partnership in place, more enhancement work will take the hunting experience to the next level. The goal is to restore, preserve, and maintain, the diverse habitat located at Crackerneck WMA.” The hunting community will hopefully see the work that has already been completed and know that future enhancements are soon to come.

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