EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation and its conservation partners have been busy making plans to secure the future of the wild turkey. Project partners launched the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan Web site Wednesday.
The new NAWTMP Web site was announced at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and will serve as a hub of information for wild turkey management plans by state and region and includes important management documents and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data.
“The comeback of the wild turkey is arguably one of the greatest conservation success stories in our nation’s history,” said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, NWTF’s senior vice president for conservation programs. “The NWTF and its partners are ready for the next phase with the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan, and this site will serve as the portal for folks who want to know what’s going on throughout the continent with wild turkey management.”
Since 1973, the NWTF and its dedicated volunteers have worked with wildlife agencies to help successfully restore wild turkey populations to nearly all suitable habitat in North America through trap and transfer efforts. As that need becomes less necessary, it is critically important to look toward the future of North America’s greatest game birds and work to make sure that future is bright.
The Wild Turkey Management Plan will not only ensure the continued success of the wild turkey, but at the same time it will improve habitat for a multitude of wildlife and plant species, while also focusing on providing more opportunities and access for North America’s hunters.
“The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan is a compilation of plans that cover the United States, all Canadian provinces home to wild turkeys and selected areas of Mexico,” said Kennamer. “The plans will act as a guide to help wildlife management agencies and the NWTF’s dedicated volunteers target the most important habitat needs in their areas.
The Wild Turkey Management Plan will ensure our volunteers can make informed decisions when spending their hard-earned Hunting Heritage Super Fund dollars to put them in the right places and make them go further with additional cooperator funds,” Kennamer added.
Ensuring the wild turkey’s future is a tremendous challenge and the primary focus of the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan. Kennamer says this ambitious plan, which will be updated as needed, will not only ensure a bright future for wild turkeys through the 21st century, but will also conserve the flora, fauna and habitat that define its world.
“The plan will be dynamic and adaptable by constantly monitoring progress, balancing the social needs of people with the biological needs of wildlife, and will provide accurate and relevant science based support for wild turkey management,” he said.
According to North American Wild Turkey Management Plan Coordinator Mark Hatfield, working with non-government organizations, government agencies, corporations and other partners in conservation gives NWTF volunteers key opportunities not only to strengthen and improve habitat, but also to forge the relationships needed for across-the-board cooperation.
“Today, even the smallest habitat project requires the efforts of multiple partners whose very influence could have far-reaching effect on wild turkeys,” said Hatfield. For example, partnering with those who work with threatened and endangered species creates a win-win scenario that allows the NWTF to leverage Hunting Heritage Super Fund expenditures with Endangered Species Act dollars.”
The NWTF will continue to work with state wildlife agencies, the USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous other partners to maintain turkey habitat on millions of acres of public and private properties across North America.
“The NWTF’s long-term relationships with these partners were key to the restoration of the wild turkey across the U.S., and having them on board is a blessing for the wild turkey’s future,” Kennamer said.