Habitat & Conservation  |  11/15/2022

Pheasants and Waterfowl: A Match Made in Michigan

Staff Photo

Pheasants Forever in Michigan is embarking on a new partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

By Ben Beaman, Michigan State Coordinator

Pheasants Forever in Michigan is embarking on a new partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore habitat on federal lands throughout southern Michigan.

Thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), PF staff in Michigan will work with USFWS biologists to identify and complete over 150 acres of grassland restoration and improvement projects at Shiawassee River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and on Michigan’s five Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs):

  • Edger WPA (Barry County)
  • Kinney WPA (Van Buren County)
  • Malan WPA (Jackson County)
  • Schlee WPA (Jackson County)
  • Schoonover WPA (Lenawee County)

As the name suggests, the primary objective of WPAs is to provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl. Each of these properties contains quality wetlands adjacent to the proposed grassland projects. Once restored, the grasslands will indeed provide quality nesting cover for mallards, blue-winged teal and other waterfowl.

But these uplands also support pheasants, northern harriers, short-eared owls, upland sandpipers and a whole host of other migratory birds and native pollinators, not to mention white-tailed deer.

Projects at each of these sites will convert undesirable, aggressive cool-season grasses to a more desirable mix of native warm-season grasses and wildflowers that provide more benefits to both migratory and resident wildlife. Other projects will involve removing invasive trees and shrubs that are degrading the habitat quality of established native grasslands.

These WPAs are strategically located near or directly adjacent to additional public land managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), so the wildlife benefits of grasslands restored through this partnership will extend well beyond the boundaries of each individual property. Additionally, each are open for public hunting, so the benefits will extend to hunters who pursue pheasants, deer, turkeys, rabbits and waterfowl on these properties and on nearby state land.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a major investment by the Environmental Protection Agency in the health and quality of our Great Lakes. Federal agencies, like the USFWS, work with non-federal partner agencies, like PF, to implement projects that address today’s major threats to water quality and wildlife in the Great Lakes Ecosystem.

By Ben Beaman a Michigan State Coordinator

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Fall Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a member today!