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NWTF's Oklahoma State Chapter Announces 2009 Funding

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OKLAHOMA – The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Oklahoma chapters have budgeted $138,950 from the state Hunting Heritage Super Fund to invest in outreach, education, conservation, increased public land access and more within Oklahoma in 2009.

The NWTF Super Fund is administered jointly by the NWTF, its state and provincial chapters and wildlife agencies, and supports conservation and education programs. Since 1985, National Wild Turkey Federation chapters in Oklahoma have raised and spent more than $835,000 on wildlife habitat enhancements, land purchases, education, outreach and more within the state. NWTF chapters and cooperating partners across North America have raised and spent more than $279 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.9 million acres of wildlife habitat since 1985.

“The Oklahoma State Chapter is dedicated to improving land access and wildlife habitat, and is backing up their commitment with the funds to make needed changes,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF’s senior vice president of conservation programs. “By directing Super Fund dollars to land access and wildlife habitat improvements, and strengthening outreach and education programs, the Oklahoma State Chapter is helping enhance habitat for all kinds of wildlife while contributing to a better outdoor experience.”

The targeted projects approved by the Oklahoma State Chapter Super Fund Committee include:

* $61,000 to uphold outdoor traditions through the NWTF’s JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship), Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach programs, educational programs, scholarships for youth, the 4-H Shooting Sports Program, the National Archery in the Schools Program and more.

* More than $32,000 to an existing land acquisition fund to expand public opportunities statewide through the More Places to Hunt program.

In addition, the Oklahoma State Board dedicated $45,950 to accomplish the following Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects in 2009:

1) Remove eastern red cedars from around cottonwoods on the USDA Forest Service’s Black Kettle National Grasslands, which offers some of the state and country’s best public hunting for Rio Grande wild turkeys. Removing eastern red cedars will help cottonwood trees, which are prime roosting sites for wild turkeys, survive, and also protect the trees during prescribed fire. This project also provides constructing fireguards along property lines, which are gaps in vegetation used to control prescribed fires. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated $5,000 for this project, which will be completed during the spring of 2009.
Project partners: USDA Forest Service and NWTF

2) Restore overgrown ponds by reshaping pond banks to hold water and clear ridge tops on the Oklahoma Department Wildlife Conservation’s Spavinaw Wildlife Management Area. Completion of this project will provide water and sustain wildlife throughout this public land. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated $5,000 for this project, which will be completed in 2009.
Project partners: ODWC, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and NWTF

3) Construct fireguards to allow for prescribed burning on the ODWC’s McCurtain County Wilderness Area. This area is home to Oklahoma’s last known population of red-cockaded woodpeckers, which are endangered. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter designated $4,000 toward this project, which will be completed during March or April of 2009.
Project partners: ODWC, USDA Forest Service and NWTF

4) Purchase aerial ignition supplies to conduct prescribed burns on the ODWC’s Pushmataha Wildlife Management Area. Biologists will thin the trees, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor and promote the growth of vegetation essential for wild turkeys, quail and other ground-nesting birds. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated $6,250 for this project, which will be completed during spring of 2009.
Project partners: ODWC, RMEF and NWTF

5) Purchase an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) outfitted with ignition equipment that will help biologists conduct prescribed burns throughout the ODWC’s Central Region. Burning acres each spring will promote quality habitat not only for wild turkeys but also for other wildlife and will increase hunting opportunities. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter designated $2,800 toward this purchase, which will be completed in 2009.
Project partners: ODWC and NWTF

6) Establish a stewardship agreement to conduct habitat improvement projects with revenues earned through timber sales on the USDA Forest Service’s Ouachita National Forest Well Hollow Walk-in Turkey Hunting Area. NWTF biologists will set up the stewardship agreement, which will allow funds to remain allocated to forest improvements such as prescribed burning and timber stand improvements instead of being directed to a general fund. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated $8,000 for the project, which will be completed in 2009.
Project partners: ODWC and USDA Forest Service

7) Purchase aerial ignition supplies to conduct prescribed burns on the USDA Forest Service’s Ouachita National Forest. The burn will take place on the Oklahoma Ranger District, Broken Bow Unit (McCurtain County). Through this project, biologists will manage the pine and bluestem grass ecosystem, which will keep the public area clear and clean and provide quality habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter designated $5,320 toward this project, which will be completed during spring, 2009.
Project partners: ODWC, USDA Forest Service and NWTF

8) Purchase materials for constructing a firebreak that will allow for prescribed burning on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Tishomingo Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). This unit is part of a wildlife refuge that is open to public hunting. During the past 10 years, the WMU has become overgrown, causing hunting opportunities to decline as wild turkeys have moved to habitat on private lands. The firebreak will be constructed along boundaries of the unit to keep fire from spreading to private land and will allow biologists to burn 1,000 acres and encourage turkeys to move back to the area. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter designated $5,900 toward this project, which will be completed in late 2008 and early 2009.
Project partners: ODWC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NWTF

9) Repair discing equipment on the ODWC’s Hickory Creek WMA. The equipment is used to help burn approximately 5,300 acres of the WMA, disc 200 acres and plant 80 acres of food plots, which will improve this public land. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated $2,500 for this project.
Project partners: ODWC and NWTF

10) Improve and expand the existing NWTF video display at the Wildlife Heritage Center Museum in Antlers, Okla. The funds will be used to purchase equipment and signs for the display, which promotes the NWTF’s mission and goals as well as the history and ecology of turkeys in the area. The NWTF Oklahoma State Chapter allocated $1,180 for this project, which will be completed in 2009.
Project partners: Deer Capital Tourism Association, NWTF’s Pushmataha County local chapter, NWTF

Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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