Habitat & Conservation  |  01/13/2022

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area® Program Secures 415-Acre Expansion to Big Island Wildlife Area

Photo credit: Matthew Harris

Expanding the existing Big Island Wildlife Area to more than 6,000 acres.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are pleased to announce the completion of a new habitat and access project in Ohio via the organization’s Build a Wildlife Area® program. The Mallett Property is 415 acres of grasslands, seasonal wetlands, and riparian forest in Marion County that will expand the existing Big Island Wildlife Area to more than 6,000 acres, while providing further public access opportunities and enhanced wildlife habitat for upland birds, pollinators, waterfowl, big game, and other wildlife.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is excited to be a partner with Pheasants Forever in the Mallet acquisition in Marion County. We hope this is one of many Pheasants Forever Build a Wildlife Area acquisition projects in the state of Ohio,” said Kendra Wecker, Chief of the Division of Wildlife. “This new addition to the Big Island Wildlife Area will conserve important grassland habitat for wild ring-necked pheasants, grassland birds, and pollinators such as the monarch butterfly. It also will provide public access to hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts.”

The original Mallett family homestead was settled during the late 1700’s with much of the project area later acquired during the Great Depression, and adjacent parcels being added throughout the second half of the 1900’s. Land use on the property has varied through the years but included grazing cattle and sheep, growing popcorn, production agriculture, and most recently, USDA Farm Bill conservation programs including the Wetland Reserve Program and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. The Scioto River forms the northern border of the property for more than 2.5 miles and across the river lies the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Big Island Wildlife Area. Big Island consists of 5,872 acres of public land habitat that holds wild pheasants, supports many other grassland birds, and provides habitat for many threatened and endangered species.

“We’re grateful to all of the supporters who made this project possible, and most importantly we thank the Mallett family. The Mallett family’s ancestors settled in the area in the late 1700’s, and much of the family still lives there today,” said Cody Grasser, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Ohio State Coordinator. “The Mallett’s have practiced good land stewardship and implemented conservation practices for decades and were quick to recognize the need for conservation on their farm. They truly care about leaving the land better than they found it and The Habitat Organization is grateful for the opportunity to help secure an enduring conservation legacy for the Mallett family.”

Donor support of Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area® program has permanently protected more than 20 square miles of habitat in 10 states through this unique, partner-driven matching gift program. Through local, state, and federal grants and individual private donations, Build A Wildlife Area® creates public access, conserves critical habitat for wildlife, and preserves outdoor heritage traditions at a minimum $3:$1 match.

The Mallett Property is a permanent habitat protection project contributing to the goals of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Call of the Uplands® national campaigna recently announced monumental initiative to save America’s uplands and cultivate the next generation of conservationists and hunters.

This incredible project will provide enduring benefits to wildlife, other natural resources, and the public for generations to come, and could not have been accomplished without the support of the following entities:

  • Clean Ohio: An Ohio Public Works Commission grant program funding projects across the state
  • Ohio Division of Wildlife
  • Black Swamp Bucks
  • Local Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Chapters of Ohio: Hancock County PF #261, Wyandot County PF #490, Marion County PF #594, Darke County PF/QF #675, Hardin County PF #212, Henry County PF #367, Mercer County PF #745, Williams County PF #283, Seneca County PF #293, Deer Creek PF #545, Fulton County PF #492, Auglaize County PF #167, Butler County PF #780, Miami County PF #676, Wood-Lucas PF #298, Adams Brown County QF #3243, Clinton/Highland PF #540, Erie Ottawa Sandusky PF #291, North Coast PF #370, Black Swamp PF #260, Appalachian QF #3160, Fields to Ridges PF #966, Union County PF #535, Greater Columbus PF #897, Southeastern Ohio PF #701
  • Numerous private donors

For more information about the Mallett property, or for interview opportunities, please contact Cody Grasser at CGrasser@PheasantsForever.Org or (419) 551-3875.