A CRP warm-season grass stand responds well to prescribed fires by removing the litter buildup, increasing the

diversity, creating open area on the ground and enhancing plants that attract insects.

Table of Contents
The Tour and the Study Area ................................................................................... 3 The Focus On Pheasants Partnership .................................................................. 14 CRP Mid Contract Management............................................................................. 18 Focus Area Research ............................................................................................. 28 CRP-MAP ................................................................................................................. 39 State Reports ........................................................................................................... 43 Pheasants Forever .................................................................................................. 57 Addendum ............................................................................................................... 61 Tour contacts from Nebraska................................................................................. 62 Tour attendees......................................................................................................... 63 Notes ........................................................................................................................ 66

The CRP Mid Contract Management Tour conducted in 2004 is just one of many efforts focused on improving the wildlife benefits associated with CRP grass stands. Sharing information with landowners and biologists is an important part of Focus On Pheasants, CRP-MAP and CRP Mid Contract Management.

2

3

Mid Contract Management Tour Route

The route of today’s tour through the Study Area is marked with a red line. The fields indicated in purple are the CRP tracts located in the study area and immediately adjacent to it. All tour buses will depart Maskenthine Recreation area and travel to Stop A together. This site will serve as the initial demonstration area. Following this stop, the tour buses will separate and travel to either Stop B or Stop C for the next portion of the tour. In the interest of time, today’s tour will only stop at three sites within the study area. Those three sites were selected for their ability to demonstrate the management practices used through the study area. While traveling on the bus, you’ll be able to see many of the other projects undertake throughout the study area since 2003.

4

Stop A
~ Scheduled stop of 30 minutes. ~ Site History and Management
• This field was originally enrolled into CRP in 1991 as a CP-1 practice and planted to a mixture of smooth bromegrass and orchard grass.

• By 1997, this field had become a monoculture of bromegrass. This tract was enrolled into
the CRP-MAP walk-in access program (see page 39 for more information on this program) and the landowner “lightly” disked and interseeded yellow sweetclover on 10% of acres annually. The disking intensity associated with those efforts was insufficient and no legume establishment occurred.

• In the spring of 2003, as part of Focus on Pheasants, 25 acres were disked with two passes
and interseeded with a mixture of alfalfa (3.0 lbs PLS) red clover (1.5 lbs PLS) and yellow sweetclover (0.5 lbs PLS) (See page 42 for a complete list of legume mixtures used to upgrade CRP). The improvement to plant diversity and structure was almost immediate.

• The tract was re-enrolled into CRP in spring of 2004 with 51% of the field being managed to
establish a CP-2 mixture. The field was disked twice, regrowth was treated with a glyphosphate herbicide, and interseeded to a CP-2 mix (warm season grasses, native forbs, and introduced legumes). In addition, the remaining 15.6 acres of smooth bromegrass were disked and interseeded with the legume mixture mentioned earlier.

• The management cost for disking and interseeding legumes was $35.00 per acre in 2003
(costs include two passes with disk, no-till drill planting, and interseeding a legume mixture).

• The cost for re-enrollment was >$100.00 per acre (costs include two passes with a disk, herbicide
application, no-till drill planting and interseeding a CP-2 seed mix).

• Ring-necked pheasants and grassland birds (Dickcissels in particular) were abundant in 2004. • At this site, you will see the following treatment types:
1) Mature, monoculture of smooth bromegrass. 2) Smooth bromegrass stand that was disked and interseeded with legumes in 2003. 3) Smooth bromegrass stand that was disked, sprayed, and interseeded with legumes in 2004.

• You’ll be able to observe differences in plant structure and diversity between the treatments
and observe differences in insect abundance.

• Across the road to the west is a field that was disked twice and interseeded with a legume
mixture in 2004. This field was originally enrolled in CRP in 1987 and planted to a mixture of smooth bromegrass and orchard grass.

• There will be a demonstration of the variation in insect abundance in treated vs. untreated
CRP grass stands.

5

Stop B
~ Scheduled stop of 45 to 50 minutes. ~

Site History and Management

Researchers from Oklahoma State University will discuss their grassland bird study and some of its results at this stop. This field was originally enrolled into CRP in 1987 as CP-2 practice. The original contract seeded the entire tract to switchgrass. The site was re-enrolled into CRP in 1997 as CP-10. No management was performed on the grass stand at the time of re-enrollment. By 2003, smooth bromegrass had spread from road ditch and into the CRP planting. In the spring of 2003, as part of Focus on Pheasants, 33 acres on the WEST side of the road were disked and interseeded with a mixture of legumes. In 2004, another 20 acres were treated in a similar fashion. Bee hives have been placed here by a local apiarist because of abundant blossoms on the legumes present after upgrades were performed. On the EAST side of the road, several demonstration treatments were performed in the spring of 2005. These include: 1. Prescribed burn: Used to set back bromegrass encroachment and to reduce litter. The 3.0 acre burned area was interseeded with legumes. 2. Disking: Treatments involving one pass, two passes and three passes with a disk were used. All of the disking treatments were followed with interseeding a legume mixture. 3. Herbicide Application: Glyphosphate herbicides were used to burn back the smooth bromegrass. Interseeding a legume mixture followed the herbicide application. Notice the differences between mid-contract management techniques and the difference in succession that have occurred between Site A (cool-season grass stand) and Site B (warm-season grass stand).

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Stop C
~ Scheduled stop of 35 to 40 minutes. ~

Site History and Management

At this site, we will have researchers from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln demonstrate pheasant telemetry equipment and discuss ongoing research related to the Mid Contract Management efforts being undertaken in this study area. The site was originally enrolled into CRP in 1987 as CP-1 practice and planted to a mixture of smooth bromegrass, intermediate wheatgrass, orchard grass, and yellow sweetclover. The site was re-enrolled into CRP in 1997 as CP-1. At that time, bromegrass dominated stand producing a monoculture. In the spring of 2003, as part of Focus on Pheasants, 104 acres were disked twice and interseeded with a mixture legumes. In the spring of 2004, another 104 acres were disked twice and interseeded with a mixture of legumes. In the spring of 2005, a 5 acre spot of smooth bromegrass was treated with a glyphosphate herbicide and interseeded with legumes. The cost of this treatment was approximately $45 per acre (costs include herbicide application, no-till drill planting, and the legume mixture seed) In the spring of 2005, a 5 acre spot that had previously been disked and interseeded in 2003, was treated with Select® herbicide in an attempt to burn back the smooth bromegrass reencroachment. The cost of this herbicide application was approximately $20 per acre. The cost to disk and interseed legumes in this partnership effort increased in 2005 to $45 per acre due to rising fuel costs and greater understanding of actual equipment and labor costs to perform work. At this site, you will look at the following treatment types: 1. Existing bromegrass: Originally planted in 1987 with no management performed on it. 2. Herbicide application followed by interseeding a legume mixture: an application of Glyphosphate and interseeding a mixture of legumes. 3. Herbicide Application to previously treated areas: Applying Select® herbicide treatment on an existing legume stand that has smooth bromegrass re-encroaching back into it. 4. Disking and interseeding: Performed in 2003 5. Disking and interseeding: Performed in 2004 You will be able to observe the rapid rate of grassland succession, especially in cases where smooth bromegrass is present.

• • • • •

7

CRP Mid Contract Management
~ Observations and Opinions ~ Disking and Interseeding

Two passes minimum is required in stands of smooth bromegrass or switchgrass. In some cases, our efforts have reached as high as five passes with a disk. Even aggressive disking in this fashion does not make fields susceptible to erosion. It is far easier to disk “too little” than it is to disk “too much”. Haying or burning the grass stand prior to disking reduces litter and improves the ease of disking, but is not critical to achieving good results. Removal of litter may decrease the number of disking passes necessary to achieve the desired impact and results. Smooth bromegrass typically returns aggressively in the 3rd growing season following management. While the smooth bromegrass comes back aggressively, the grass stand can still provide good structure and nesting cover at that point. Disking prior to September 15th on smooth bromegrass does not sufficiently set the grass back. Regrowth occurs within months and significantly reduces the effective length of the treatment by at least one season. Disking smooth bromegrass in the spring is the most effective treatment, but the ability to accomplish field work prior to May 1st is weather dependent. Care should be taken to stay out of waterways and away from the field borders when selecting areas for disking. Care should be taken to identify areas of known noxious weed infestations and then design work around these areas. If the area had a history of noxious weeds prior to enrollment in CRP, it will have noxious weeds following a disking. Frank discussions with landowners about early successional plants (weeds) need to be discussed prior to initiation of work. The landowners tolerance to early successional plants and desire for more wildlife will help guide your management technique application. Effective communication with USDA field office, local weed superintendent, landowners, and media can greatly increase support for habitat improvements such as this. This partnership has been enhanced by substantial support from the media, partners and landowners. The legume seeding mixtures used (see page 42 for a list of mixtures) produced desirable plant composition and structure. The addition of white sweetclover to mixtures may be desirable due to it’s later maturation date. Annual plant responses varied from site to site. Generally speaking, common sunflower and annual foxtail are primary annuals that show up in the first growing season. Common sunflowers virtually disappear from the site after the first year.

• • •

8

CRP Mid Contract Management
~ Observations and Opinions ~ Prescribed fire and haying

Prescribed fire on warm-season CRP grass stands can be effective in reducing cool-season grass encroachment and for certain tree control if timed correctly. It also reduces grass litter and invigorates regrowth. Some annual plants also respond favorably to increased sunlight penetration. To reduce the encroachment of cool-season grasses, late April burns are recommended. The reduction of litter following a burn provides an excellent opportunity to: ♦ Disk and interseed a mixture of legumes. ♦ Increase disturbance on the site. ♦ Use a no-till drill to interseed legumes into the existing grass stand. Prescribed fire on an established cool-season grass stand does very little to improve the grass stand composition or diversity. It will reduce the litter and can be effective in controlling some woody plants. Haying can also reduce litter and provide an opportunity to either disk and interseed or to apply other management techniques. Interseeding a legume mixture directly into a hayed cool-season grass stand without another form of disturbance produced minimal benefits.

• •

Chemical burn back and interseeding
• • • •

Where disking is not feasible, chemical burn back using a glyphosphate herbicide may provide a good alternative. Situations where the use of herbicide might be preferred include areas with known noxious weed infestations, lack of tillage equipment, or hayed cool-season grass stands. The use of Select® herbicide or other non-broadleaf herbicides may offer some hope for reducing the regrowth of cool-season grasses in upgraded areas. Our experience has found that when controlling smooth bromegrass with a glyphosphate, an application of 28 ounces per acre with an AMS applied between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on a warm day works best.

9

CRP Mid Contract Management
~ Observations and Opinions ~ Noxious Weeds
• Noxious weeds were identified as an issue to be addressed in the planning of Focus On Pheasant
activities. The plants on Nebraska’s noxious weed list that were anticipated to be of concern included musk, plumeless, and Canada thistles.

CRP tracts with a history of thistle problems and where thistle seeds were present in the seed bank were more problematic than tracts with limited thistle history. When thistle problems occurred on CRP tracts that had been disked and interseeded with legumes as part of the Focus On Pheasants project, appropriate treatments were applied. herbicides. If thistle problems were widespread over a large area, then a blanket application of appropriate herbicide that was labeled for legumes and/or shredding of affected areas were treatments that provided acceptable results.

• Those treatments included hand chopping, spot shredding, and spot spraying with appropriate

Communication and cooperation among all involved entities were the key to resolving noxious weed problems on CRP tracts while still developing and maintaining desired vegetative diversity provided by the interseeded legumes.

Final Thoughts

Cost share rates, generally speaking, are too low. Even for landowners that seriously desire to see habitat improve and for those that are only conducting this work as a requirement of CRP, this will be viewed as a financial burden or will result in sub par results due to lack of awareness. There are very few certainties in life…...two that can be applied to Mid Contract Management are: 1. You can’t ever kill off smooth bromegrass with any amount of disking and 2. If you had noxious weeds before enrollment in CRP, they will show up again following disking. While USDA technical guides are pretty complete at describing maximum management efforts (how deep to disk, how many passes, percent reside, etc.), they are generally weak on outlining the minimum management efforts required to accomplish the desired results. Our experience showed that minimum efforts typically produced minimum, if any, results.

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11

Focus Area Timeline
• Written in collaboration among NGPC, PF and NRCS biologists, the Focus On Pheasants • • • • •
plan was approved by the NGPC Board of Commissioners in May. Selected Focus Areas (See page 16 for a complete list of all Focus Areas in the state). Discuss objectives and coordinate efforts between NGPC, PF, FSA (local staff, county committee, and state office staff), NRCS (local and state office staff) and area landowners. Hired one full-time biologist position (1-year contract) to implement the plan. Designed evaluation procedures. Began making landowner contacts.

2002

• Disked and interseeded 1,000 acres on 37 different tracts of land owned by 24 different land• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
owners. Conducted spring pheasant crowing surveys. Initiated pilot study on the grassland bird response to disking and interseeding. Conducted August roadside pheasant brood surveys. Conducted habitat tours of the focus area for NGPC, PF, local FSA and NRCS and area landowners. Discussed the results and landowner satisfaction. Monitored noxious weed response and spot treated by spraying 1,000 acres – some landowners did this themselves. Applied for and received a State Wildlife Grant to initiate a Grassland Bird Study. The study will be conducted through Oklahoma State University to monitor response to habitat work. Enrolled 780 acres of CRP in the focus area into the CRP-MAP access program.

2003

2004
Disk and interseeded additional 1,100 acres on 44 tracts of land owned by 26 landowners. Conducted spring pheasant crowing counts. Began Grassland Bird Study. Initiated pilot pheasant telemetry study to determine nesting and brood rearing habitat preferences. Initiated insect study to measure response to uniform management treatments. Hosted the 1st CRP Mid Contract Management Tour in August. Conducted August roadside pheasant brood surveys. Monitored noxious weed response and spot treated by spraying 2,100 acres. Enrolled additional 240 acres of CRP into the CRP-MAP walk-in access program.

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Focus Area Timeline
• Disked and interseeded 100 additional acres. • Initiated a demonstration of glyphosphate herbicide application and interseeding legumes. • Initiated a demonstration of Select® herbicide on brome that had been disked and interseeded • Initiated a demonstration prescribed burn and interseeding legumes. • Conducted spring crow counts. • Began Pheasant Telemetry Project to monitor response by radio collaring 50 pheasant hens. • • • • • • • •
The study is conducted through the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Second year of Grassland Bird Study. Conduct August roadside pheasant brood survey. Monitor noxious weeds and spot treat by spraying and chopping 2,300 acres. Conduct 2nd Mid-Contract Management Tour in June. Conduct 2nd Twilight Habitat Tour in July. 2 Stanton County Landowners – Dale Clark and Al Platt receive recognition for FOP efforts at Pheasant Fest in Omaha. Expanded individual field demonstrations to most counties in northeast Nebraska. Will present Grassland Bird and Pheasant Telemetry preliminary results at annual meeting of The Wildlife Society. in previous years.

2005

• • • • •

Future Efforts
Continue monitoring the management techniques being applied in the study area. Conduct 2nd year of pheasant telemetry study. Seek support for extending grassland bird study. Conduct additional demonstrations of different mid-contract management techniques. Conduct field tours and presentations of data.

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Focus On Pheasants
Focus On Pheasants is a partnership effort formed in 2002 that brings together a unique combination of Federal, State and Local government agencies, conservation groups, private industry and landowners. This combination of groups have come together in an effort to improve mature grass stands throughout the state and provide better pheasant habitat. The average CRP field in Nebraska is now 16 years old and has had little or no management performed on it during the life of its contract. The primary focus of this partnership has been to increase the wildlife habitat quality and diversity of CRP grass stands using the following management tools: • Controlled burns • Interseeding legumes • Disking • Chemical herbaceous vegetation control • Haying • Grazing

The Focus On Pheasants Partnership

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Focus On Pheasants
Dixon County

Stanton County

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Nebraska One Box Foundation

Harlan County Reservoir WMA

Sherman Reservoir

Branched Oak WMA

Location of Focus Areas within Nebraska

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GENERAL CRP PRACTICE Required Management Following Establishment
A mid-contract management activity for the purpose of improving plant diversity and wildlife habitat conditions must be conducted a minimum of one time during the contract period. CP-10 areas require a minimum of two management activities, at contract beginning and mid-contract. CP-25 prairie areas in Vegetative Zones III & IV require a minimum of two management activities on contracts longer than 10 years. Refer to appropriate FOTG standard and Nebraska Conservation Planning Sheet 20 for specifications associated with each practice and other details. Acres enrolled into CP-3, CP-3A, and CP-11 shall utilize guidance provided under “Tree Planting/Forestry” for Continuous CRP and CREP Practices. No management is required for acres enrolled into CP-12 (Food Plots) but proper maintenance is required to meet the purposes of that practice.

Management Option
Tillage and Interseeding

CRP Practice
CP1-Introduced Grasses and Legumes CP2-Native Grasses CP4B/4D-Permanent Wildlife Habitat CP10-Vegetative Cover Already Established

FOTG Practice
647 Early Successional Habitat Development/ Management

Conditions and Limitations
Managed Haying***, Prescribed Burning, or Mowing/Shredding may also be needed to remove excessive residue prior to tillage/ seeding. Interseeding may be conducted without tillage on sandy sites with a Wind Erodibility factor (I) of 134 or greater provided an interseeder or similar device is used to create some limited disturbance. Interseeding must be conducted under this option. Broadcast seeding is only allowed if tillage is completed prior to, or following seeding and seeding rates are doubled.

Required Interval*
Vegetative Zones III & IV every 3-5 years once established; Vegetative Zones I & II every 5-7 years once established Note: Tillage may be needed and recommended more frequently on sites with aggressive sodforming grasses such as smooth brome or switchgrass.

Interseeding Native Forbs Only

CP25-Rare and Declining Habitats (prairie sites only)

Mowing/Shredding, or Prescribed Burning may Vegetative Zones III & IV 643 Restoration & also be needed to remove excessive resievery 3-5 years once Management of due prior to seeding. established; Declining Habi- Drilling of native species provided an interVegetative Zones I & II every 5-7 years once tats seeder or similar device is used to create established some limited disturbance or a “burn-down” herbicide is used to reduce competition from existing, perennial species in order to enhance establishment of the seeded species. 338 Prescribed Burning Broadcast seeding is only allowed if tillage is Vegetative Zones III & IV completed prior to, or following seeding every 3-5 years once and seeding rates are doubled. established; Vegetative Zones I & II Use techniques (timing, intensity, etc.) to proevery 5-7 years once vide a benefit to plant diversity and wildlife established. habitat.

Prescribed Burning **

CP1-Introduced Grasses and Legumes CP2-Native Grasses CP4B/4D-Permanent Wildlife Habitat CP10-Vegetative Cover

Chemical Her- CP1-Introduced Grasses and Legumes baceous Vegetation Control ** CP2-Native Grasses CP4B/4D-Permanent Wildlife Habitat CP10-Vegetative Cover Already Established CP25-Rare and Declining Habitats (prairie sites

Vegetative Zones III & IV 643 Managed Haying***, Prescribed Burning, or Restoration & Mowing/Shredding may also be needed to every 3-5 years once Management of remove excessive residue prior to herbiestablished; cide application. Declining HabiVegetative Zones I & II Not a substitute for noxious weed control or tats every 5-7 years once and established. weed control during establishment. Broadcast seeding is only allowed if tillage is 647 Early Succescompleted prior to, or following seeding sional Habitat and seeding rates are doubled.

19

GENERAL CRP PRACTICE Required Management Following Establishment
~ Continued ~
* Management activities may be conducted and cost-shared more frequently than the required interval, provided that the activity is technically justified, improves wildlife habitat, and is not prohibited by 2-CRP paragraph 484. ** Interseeding of desired legumes or native grasses and/or forbs is recommended and can be cost-shared in conjunction with this activity. *** Managed Haying used in conjunction with tillage/interseeding or chemical herbaceous vegetation control can be utilized when necessary to remove excessive residue. Haying will result in a CRP program payment reduction. Managed haying, by itself, will not provide the necessary vegetative response to meet the CRP management intent. Lands enrolled in CP-25 are not currently eligible for managed haying. Note: High-intensity/short-duration grazing, if technically justified, may be substituted for, or used in conjunction with, these management options. The primary area where this is applicable is western Nebraska and the Sandhills region. Grazing will result in a CRP payment reduction. Managed grazing strategies other than high-intensity/short-duration will not, by themselves, provide the necessary vegetative response to meet the CRP management intent. Lands enrolled in CP-25 are not currently eligible for managed grazing. Early Successional Habitat Management (tillage) shall not be conducted within 50 feet of property boundaries without the approval of the adjacent landowner or within 50 feet of field boundaries along State and County improved roads and

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EARLY SUCCESSIONAL HABITAT DEVELOPMENT/MANAGEMENT (647)-1
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE CONSERVATION PRACTICE STANDARD

EARLY SUCCESSIONAL HABITAT DEVELOPMENT/MANAGEMENT (ac.)
CODE 647 DEFINITION
Manage early plant succession to benefit desired wildlife or natural communities. Vegetative manipulation to maximize plant and animal diversity can be accomplished by disturbance practices including prescribed burning, light disking, low density seeding, tree or brush removal, mowing, grazing, herbicide application, water level manipulation, or a combination of the above. Following such activities, early successional plants will typically establish themselves from the existing soil seed bank or from relatively dormant plants and rootstocks. Early successional plants may also be established through deliberate seeding or planting. Native adapted plant materials will be used whenever possible, but introduced species or even mixtures of native and introduced species may be appropriate depending upon objectives. All seed and planting materials shall be labeled and meet state seed law and NRCS seed quality standards (refer to FOTG Section II, Pasture and Hayland Interpretations, Grass and Forb Seed Source Requirements). It is recommended that legume seed of introduced species shall be inoculated with the proper, viable rhizobia before planting. Management practices and activities are not to disturb cover during the primary nesting period for grassland species. Exceptions may be allowed when necessary to maintain the health of the plant community. Mowing may be needed during the plant establishment period to control undesired vegetation. Measures must be provided to control noxious weeds in order to comply with state noxious weed laws. Spraying or other forms of noxious weed control will be done on a “spot” basis to protect insect food sources for grassland nesting birds and to protect forbs and legumes that benefit native pollinators and other wildlife.

PURPOSE
• • • Increase plant community diversity. Provide habitat for early successional wildlife species. Provide habitat for declining species.

CONDITIONS WHERE PRACTICE APPLIES
On all lands where early successional habitat is to be established and/or maintained in a condition suitable for the desired wildlife and plant species.

CRITERIA
Early successional management will be designed to achieve the desired plant community in density, vertical and horizontal structure, and plant species diversity. Methods used will be designed to maintain soil erosion quality criteria unless the habitat being managed is dependent on active erosion processes, for example, blowouts or sparsely vegetated sand and gravel bars. For other habitats, an annual cover crop shall be established if soil erosion is expected to exceed T during or subsequent to the year vegetation is manipulated. Refer to Cover Crop (340) standard for temporary covers to reduce erosion that are compatible with the desired permanent cover.

Conservation practice standards are reviewed periodically, and updated if needed. To obtain the current version of this standard, contact the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

NE-T.G. Notice 540 Section IV NRCS-JULY 2003

21

EARLY SUCCESSIONAL HABITAT DEVELOPMENT/MANAGEMENT (647)-1
This standard is not to be used where plant communities considered as rare and declining will be adversely impacted. Refer to the Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats (643) standard and specification. Managing for early successional plant communities is beneficial if not essential for less mobile animal species. The less mobile the species, the more important to provide all the habitat requirements in a small area. Design and install the practice to facilitate operation of machinery or prescribed burning activities. When ever possible, lay out strips to have some multiple or full width passes by all farm implements. Mowing of herbaceous cover for weed control is strongly discouraged but may be used during the plant establishment period, alone or in conjunction with other practices to control undesired competitive vegetation. Grazing may be used as a management tool to achieve the intended purpose of this practice. A grazing plan designed for habitat improvement that addresses grazing frequency, intensity, and duration is required. This practice may be used to promote the conservation of declining species, including threatened and endangered (plant, wildlife or aquatic) species.

CONSIDERATIONS
To minimize harm to nesting birds, make every attempt to avoid conducting soil or vegetation disturbing activities from April 1 to August 1 (most nesting generally occurs in Nebraska between April 15 and July 15). When those dates cannot be avoided, document in the plan or note the reason why and/or what measures are planned that will reduce or localize adverse impacts. (For Example, disking may be conducted early in the nesting season because of prolonged wet field conditions. Disking will be done on a rotational basis to allow some areas to remain undisturbed each year.) All habitat manipulations will be planned and managed according to soil capabilities. Recommendations for management will avoid excessive soil loss when consistent with project goals. Consider potential vehicular safety concerns posed by tall vegetation adjacent to roads and highways. Road intersections and areas with high big game populations may be of special concern. Consider “setting back” from the field border 50 to 100 feet as appropriate. Consider the potential for the spread of undesired early successional plants (annual weeds) onto neighboring lands. Consider consulting with adjacent landowners about planned activities. If appropriate, consider “setting back” from property boundaries. Consider managing vegetation under a scheduled rotational plan so that only a portion of the area is disturbed in a given year. This will assure that some undisturbed habitat is available and that several successional stages of cover are in close proximity. Early successional treatments should be rotated throughout the managed area. Treatment shall be accomplished whenever succession has gone past the desired stages.

PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS
Specifications for this practice shall be prepared for each site. Specifications shall be recorded using approved specifications sheets, job sheets, narrative statements in the conservation plan, or other acceptable documentation.

OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
The following actions shall be carried out to insure that this practice functions as intended throughout its expected life. These actions include normal repetitive activities in the application and use of the practice (operation), and repair and upkeep of the practice (maintenance). Any use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals to assure early successional management shall not compromise the intended purpose.

Conservation practice standards are reviewed periodically, and updated if needed. To obtain the current version of this standard, contact the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

NE-T.G. Notice 540 Section IV NRCS-JULY 2003

22

S-647a-1

PRACTICE SPECIFICATION EARLY SUCCESSIONAL HABITAT DEVELOPMENT/MANAGEMENT DISKING

1.

SCOPE Grass and/or legume seedings that have been established for many years can lose vigor, productivity, and species diversity. Such stands are sometimes described as being “sodbound”. Such sites usually have very little open soil surface between plants. Plants may have low stature or produce less than normal amounts of seed or leaf material. These sites also typically are dominated by only a few, or even one, perennial species. Annual plants are generally absent. Ring-necked pheasant, gray (Hungarian) partridge, bobwhite quail, and mourning doves are popular wildlife species that require or benefit from good quality early successional habitat. Disking or similar tillage operations can be useful for establishing or releasing early successional plants and providing habitat for these wildlife species.

2.

SITE LIMITATIONS Disking will generally not be prescribed for areas of concentrated flow such as waterways, sandy sites with very little residue or organic matter on or near the soil surface, sites with slopes greater than 20%, or sites with an extremely high risk of colonization by noxious weeds. Disking should not be conducted if poor soil moisture conditions are likely to delay plant regrowth and seed germination. Disking on sloping ground will be done on the contour. Multiple equipment passes are acceptable. To prevent excessive (greater than T) water erosion, sites with slopes greater than 9% will maintain a minimum of 30% residue cover after disking and will not have disturbed areas wider than those prescribed in the following table. Exceptions are allowed if wider strips are justified and documented through the use of current erosion prediction tools. The width of the undisturbed area between disked strips will be 20 feet or greater.

NE T. G. 525 Section IV NRCS-AUGUST 2002

23

S-647a-1

Max. Cross Slope Width

Slope%

200 feet 150 feet 100 feet
3.

9 to 11 12 to 15 16 to 20

DISKING DEPTH AND INTENSITY Disking depth (ground penetration) and as prescribed by NRCS will be based on soil type, slope, existing cover, purpose of disking, and producer’s objectives. Maximum depth for nonsandy sites dominated by smooth bromegrass, switchgrass, or reed canarygrass will be 6 inches if slopes are equal to or less than 9%. Maximum depth for all other sites will be 4 inches.

4.

DISKING DATES Disking may be done from July 15 to May 1. August 15 to September 15 appears to be optimal.

5.

DESIRABLE EARLY SUCCESSIONAL PLANTS Desirable early successional plants are those that: Produce seeds that are consumed by birds and small mammals or Provide forage for insects preferred by birds and small mammals or That provide cover that hides young wildlife (especially upland gamebird chicks) but that still has sufficiently low plant stem densities to allow easy chick movement through it.

NE T. G. 525 Section IV NRCS-AUGUST 2002

24

S-647a-1 Desirable Early Successional Plants and Their Preferred Sites (list is not complete)

Annual Sunflower Barnyardgrass Foxtail Giant Ragweed Rocky Mntn. Beeplant Smartweeds Fall Panicum Showy Partridgepea Pigweed Black Medic Beggarticks Pennycress

Uplands Wetlands/ Moist Sites Uplands Moist Sites/ Uplands Uplands Wetlands/ Moist Sites Uplands Uplands Moist Sites/ Uplands Uplands Wetlands Uplands

Chickweed Lambsquarters Kochia Texas Croton Sweetclover Beebalm Yellow woodsorrel Plantain Crabgrass Witchgrass Dock Bedstraw Hemp

Uplands Uplands Uplands Uplands Uplands Uplands Uplands Moist Sites/ Uplands Uplands Uplands Uplands Moist Sites Uplands

Most sites have a soil seed bank that contains sufficient kinds and amounts viable seed. The existing seed bank can be supplemented by drilling or broadcasting seed of desired species. In addition to the use of crops suitable for use as wildlife food plots, the following species are some that can be used provided they are adapted to the site. They can be seeded August 15 to September 15 and November 1 to May 15. Refer to Pasture and Hayland Planting (512) and FOTG Section II Pasture and Hayland Interpretations Table 2 to determine the adaptability of additional species. The use of two or more species is recommended.

NE T. G. 525 Section IV NRCS-AUGUST 2002

25

S-647a-1

Species
Alfalfa Red Clover Sweet Clover Ladino Clover Alsike Clover Strawberry Clover White Clover Annual Sunflower Maximillian Sunflower Canada Milkvetch Showy Partridgepea

Vegetative Zone Adaptability
Statewide III, IV Statewide IV III, IV III, IV II, III, IV Statewide Statewide Statewide II, III, IV

Suggested Seeding Rate 1, 2
3.0 to 5.0 2.0 to 4.0 2.0 to 4.0 0.5 to 1.0 0.7 to 1.5 1.5 to 3.0 0.5 to 1.0 4.0 to 8.0 1.0 to 2.0 2.0 to 4.0 5.0 to 10.0

Legume seed of introduced species shall be inoculated in accordance with the directions on the inoculant container. Use the correct inoculant for each legume species 6. OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE Reapply this practice periodically to set back succession and restore the desired habitat conditions. Monitor wildlife use to determine practice success and to better prescribe future habitat management activities. Control noxious and other undesirable plant species as needed.

1. Rates provided are for drilling a single species. Reduce rates proportionately when using two or more species in a mixture. 2. Rates will be doubled if broadcast.

NE T. G. 525 Section IV NRCS-AUGUST 2002

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In the Focus On Pheasant “Focus Area” located in Stanton County, several research projects have been started in the last few years to begin to document the wildlife and vegetative responses to CRP grass stand treatments. Some of the investigations conducted include: 1. Invertebrate abundance in CRP fields. Three different efforts have been conducted from 2000 to 2005, that looked at the effects of disking and interseeding legumes on key brood habitat components in CRP fields. 2. Spring Pheasant Crowing Counts and August Roadside Surveys. Conducted from 2003 to present, the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission is conducting surveys in focus areas and control areas to determine the influence of habitat improvements on pheasant abundance. 3. Evaluation of Ring-necked Pheasant Response to Disking and Interseeding Legumes on Conservation Reserve Program Fields in Northeast Nebraska. Initiated in 2004 by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission and expanded as a University of Nebraska—Lincoln graduate project, evaluating the response of ring-necked pheasants to landscape scale habitat manipulations. 4. Grassland bird response to Disking/Interseeding of legumes in Conservation Reserve Program lands in Northeast Nebraska. Initiated in 2004, a graduate research study from Oklahoma State University is looking at grassland songbird responses to habitat improvement efforts on CRP fields. The results of these studies - preliminary results in some cases - are summarized in this booklet today and will be expanded upon throughout the tour by the researchers. These efforts are documenting the results of CRP Mid Contract Management efforts on a landscape scale and providing early information about what management techniques are most effective.

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Insect and Vegetation Responses to Disking and Interseeding Legumes on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Fields in Eastern Nebraska
Scott Taylor, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
Background In the spring of 2000, the Wildlife Division of Nebraska Game and Parks recognized the need for information regarding the effects of light disking and interseeding with regard to pheasant brood habitat components on CRP fields. These management actions are required on CRP fields enrolled in the Commission’s CRP-Management Access Program (CRP-MAP). The goal of management is to improve nesting and brood rearing habitat on portions of these fields. The most important desired improvement was an increase in insect abundance. Pheasants and many other grassland birds depend heavily upon insects in their diets during the summer. Desired vegetative improvements included increases in visual obstruction, plant diversity, and canopy coverage measurements. We sampled insects and vegetation in portions of CRP fields with and without the disking and interseeding treatment to determine the effects of this management technique. Methods We sampled 4 different field types. 1) CRP fields planted to cool season grasses, with a portion of the field disked and interseeded with legumes (alfalfa, yellow sweetclover, and/or red clover), 2) CRP fields planted to warm season grasses, with a portion of the field disked and interseeded with legumes, 3) either cool or warm season CRP fields with a portion of the field planted to a high diversity seed mixture (CP-25), and 4) native prairie hay fields. Transects were located > 20 m from field borders and ran parallel to the edge. We used sweep nets to collect insects. We made 50 sweeps along each transect. Highlights of Results We acquired samples from 22 fields. In CRP fields, insect abundance was higher in treatment portions of both cool season and warm season fields. Insect abundance in CP-25 plantings was similar to those in control portions of the fields. Line to line variability in insect abundance was relatively high but field to field variability was relatively low. This suggested an uneven distribution of insects within fields. If future sampling is done, an increased number of sample lines per field is suggested to reduce variability of mean abundance measurements. Significant increases in both visual obstruction (height and density) and forb (broad-leafed plants) to grass ratios were observed on both cool season and warm season CRP fields that were disked and interseeded with legumes. Litter (dead plant material) decreased significantly after treatment. This technique quickly improved nesting habitat (structurally) for pheasants and many other grassland dependent bird species. The reduction in litter and increase in insect abundance appears to have made these tracts more attractive for foraging and brood rearing as well. As such, this technique shows promise for improving wildlife habitat on older CRP stands that have lost vegetative diversity.

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Table 1. Mean biomass (g) of invertebrates sampled in several herbaceous community types in Nebraska during summer, 2000. Measurements represent the total biomass collected along 3 50-m transects per field; sample sizes are the number of fields.

Untreated Portion of Field Field Type Cool-season CRP Warm-season CRP CP-25 and adjacent CRP Native prairie n
6 6 5 5

Interseeded or High Diversity Portion of Field Mean
9.07 9.31 4.85

Mean
3.94 2.66 5.74 8.21

SE
0.81 0.97 1.76 2.48

SE
1.53 1.71 2.90

Light disking and interseeding to improve brood habitat
Ron Leathers Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasants are early-successional species, relying heavily on a combination of grasses and weedy forbs to produce seed and insect food sources. In particular, pheasant hens and chicks are heavily dependant on insects as a primary food source during spring nesting and summer broodrearing. Hens must eat insect foods to meet their needs for high levels of calcium and protein to produce eggs. Pheasant chicks are almost solely dependant on insects throughout their first summer to meet their needs for high calorie, high protein foods to reach maturity by winter. As grasses grow, they tend to choke out these weedy forb species and can become nearly pure stands of a single grass species, leaving pheasants and other birds without the food sources and diversity they need to fully reach their population potential. Nebraska’s CRP-Management Access Program is a joint program of Pheasants Forever and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission that promotes management of aging CRP grasslands to set back grass growth and encourage reestablishment of forb species. The specific management practice that is used for this program is light disking and interseeding legumes (typically alfalfa, sweetclover, and red clover). Some of the highlights of a 2001 & 2002 study on the CRP-MAP program’s management practices are presented below. Invertebrates: Managed fields had a much higher availability of insects and invertebrates than idle fields. The increase was particularly pronounced in the native grass stands. Idle native grasses had the lowest overall availability of invertebrates, translating into the least available food source for pheasant chicks. However, managed native grasses had the highest availability of invertebrates and the most food sources for chicks. Although less pronounced than in the natives, brome fields also had more invertebrates when managed than when left idle.

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Available invertebrates
3000 Biomass (mg) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Idle Managed Brome 1918.9 2334.3 Native 531.6 2757.7 Idle Managed

Mean %

Vegetation changes: Managed fields had more legume cover than idle fields. Without management, the average percent cover of legumes was less than 2% in brome fields and 0.5% in native grasses. After management, legumes accounted for roughly 1/3rd of the total cover in brome fields and 1/6th of the cover in native grasses. Managed fields also had more forb cover (including the planted legumes and any volunteer weedy forbs) than idle fields. Planted legumes accounted for the majority of the forb cover in managed fields. Again, the percentage of forbs in idle fields was extremely low (<5% in brome and <10% in natives) compared to the percentage in managed fields (36% in brome and 28% in natives). One major concern of landowners is that disturbance of the soil surface by light disking and interseeding could lead to increased noxious weed growth. I found no evidence to suggest that the disking and interseeding activity promoted any more growth of noxious weeds than would occur naturally in idle fields. The average in all fields was less than 0.25% on all our study sites. These concerns are not unfounded, however, as I have seen fields with major histories of noxious weed problems that got much worse when disked and I suggest not conducting management activities on those portions of fields with a history of noxious weed problems to avoid any possibility of future problems.

Planted legume cover
35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Brome Native Idle Managed

Total % forb cover
40 35 30 Mean % 25 20 15 10 5 0 Brome Native Idle Managed

Percent cover noxious weeds
Idle 2001 2002 0 < 0.1 Brome Managed < 0.1 0 Idle 0 < 0.1 Natives Managed < 0.1 0.2

Summary: Light disking and interseeding legumes as a management practice for aging CRP fields tends to produce more diverse cover with a higher proportion of legumes and forbs. Subsequently, invertebrate biomass is also higher in managed fields. The result is better brood rearing cover for pheasants and other grassland nesting birds with more diverse vegetation and a greater amount of spring and summer food resources for nesting hens and chicks.

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Insect Response to Disking and Interseeding Legumes on Conservation Reserve Program Lands in Northeast Nebraska
Jamie Bachmann, Oklahoma State University, Scott Taylor, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Lucas Negus, Oklahoma State University. Insects are important food resources for many grassland birds. A survey was conducted in 2004 to determine insect abundance, biomass and diversity in treated vs. untreated fields as part of the Grassland Bird Study in the Stanton County Focus On Pheasants study area. Eight of the sixteen fields used for the grassland bird study were chosen randomly for insect sampling. Of those eight, four were disked and interseeded with yellow sweet clover, alfalfa, and red clover; and four were control fields that received no treatment. Using a sweep net, three sub-samples of twenty sweeps each were taken along 200 meter transects within each field. Samples were preserved sorted, identified, dried, and weighed for biomass over the fall and winter of 2004-2005. Preliminary statistics have been preformed to compare insect samples between treated and untreated fields. Previous research has shown grasshoppers, butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, and spiders as being the main food resource for grassland bird hatchlings. Graph 1 compares the total abundance of these insects for July samples between treated and non-treated fields. Treated fields had an insect abundance of 2,951 and non-treated fields had an abundance of 1,021. Graph 2 compares the biomass, or dry weight, of the same insects. Treated fields have nearly three times more biomass than non-treated fields.

Insect Abundance Treated Vs. Non Treated Fields
3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Treated Not Treated

Insect Biomas Treated Vs. Non Treated Fields
25 B io m a s s ( m g ) 20 15 10 5 0 Treated Not Treated

Abun dance

Graph 1. Abundance of insects favored by grassland birds in treated (disked/interseeded) and unmanaged fields.

Graph 2. Biomass (dry weight) of insects favored by grassland birds in treated (disked/interseeded) and unmanaged fields.

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Ring-neck Pheasant Habitat Selection and Productivity in Landscapes Containing Disked and Interseeded CRP in Northeast Nebraska
Ty Mathews and Larkin Powell University of Nebraska - Lincoln A decline in the quality and quantity of ring-necked pheasant nesting and brood-rearing habitat has been hypothesized as a major factor limiting population growth in the Great Plains. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was thought to reestablish this valuable habitat, but population response was smaller than anticipated. Pheasant populations in Nebraska rose in the first 5-6 years of CRP then declined thereafter. This decline is thought to be due to the change of vegetation composition in these fields. Newly planted CRP fields (≤5 to 6 years) contain a high diversity of grasses, forbs, legumes, and annual weeds with an abundance of bare ground needed by nesting pheasant hens and their broods. Older fields (>6 years) are characterized by dense monoculture of grass with little bare ground and thick litter. Disking and interseeding forbs into older CRP fields re-create the conditions found in the newly planted fields. Objectives • Compare habitat use of pheasant hens and their broods in CRP fields that have been disked and interseeded to unmanaged CRP fields and other grasslands • Compare chick survival in CRP fields that have been disked and interseeded to unmanaged CRP fields and other grasslands • Determine the insect diet of pheasant chicks in all field types

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Methods Fifty-five pheasant hens were caught and fitted with a necklace type radio-transmitter in 2005 and another 50 will be caught in 2006. Vehicles mounted with null-peak antenna-receivers will be used to estimate the location of each hen two times a day during nesting and brood rearing periods. At each nest site and brood location vegetation composition and density will be taken. Along with vegetation analysis, feces from the chicks will be collected and processed with a protein electrophoresis to identify the invertebrates in the chicks diet. The survival of the chicks will be estimated by flushing the chicks 28 days after they hatch. Results • As of June 2005, 36 of 55 hens radio tagged remain alive (65%). • 18 hens have initiated nests. • To date, one nest has successfully hatched. • Last year, hens statistically preferred (P<.001) nesting in interseeded CRP over other grasslands available. • Preliminary results from this year suggest nests in interseeded fields have a higher survival rate than those in other field types. • Data from this year suggest hens prefer dense, tall grasslands for nesting cover.

The locations of CRP fields in the study areas used to capture pheasant hens for radio-collaring in 2004 and 2005.

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Grassland bird response to disking/interseeding of legumes in Conservation Reserve Program lands in Northeast Nebraska
Lucas Negus and Craig A. Davis Oklahoma State University Grassland bird populations are declining faster than any other group of birds. These declines have been attributed to the loss of prairie habitat. With the tremendous losses of native prairie throughout the Midwest, surrogate grasslands such as CRP have become increasingly more important to grassland wildlife. While game birds are most commonly thought of as being the main beneficiaries, nongame grassland songbirds also benefit from CRP. Recently, several studies have attributed population increases, or at least stable trends, in specific grassland bird species to CRP. In May of 2002, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Pheasants Forever, Inc. initiated a program to curb declining ring-necked pheasant populations in the state. The program, entitled “Focus on Pheasants,” placed an emphasis on creating nesting and brood-rearing habitat in the aging CRP fields by disking and interseeding legumes. Although improving pheasant habitat is the primary objective, grassland birds will likely benefit from the habitat manipulations as well. These habitat upgrades provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate grassland bird population response to this management practice. Funding for this study was provided through the Nebraska State Wildlife Grant program. State Wildlife Grants provide funding for management practices and research that benefit at-risk wildlife species. Objectives: To compare grassland bird richness and abundance in CRP fields disked/interseeded to CRP fields unmanaged. • To compare grassland bird nest productivity in CRP fields disked/interseeded to CRP fields unmanaged. • To evaluate differences in vegetation structure, composition, and cover between CRP fields disked/interseeded and CRP fields unmanaged.

Beginning in May 2004, grassland bird abundance and nest productivity were sampled in 16 fields throughout the Stanton County focus area. Eight fields were disked and interseeded and served as experimental fields. Eight fields in which no disking and interseeding was performed serve as control

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Preliminary Results: Grassland bird species observed during surveys include eastern and western meadowlarks, grasshopper sparrows, Henslow’s sparrows, Dickcissels, sedge wrens, bobolinks, field sparrows, common yellowthroats, brown-headed cowbirds, and northern harriers. Other bird species using the CRP include redwing blackbirds, barn swallows, rough-winged swallows, eastern kingbirds, mallards, blue-winged teal, ring-necked pheasants, northern bobwhite, and mourning doves. Bird surveys from the 2004 field season indicate some important differences. Several grassland bird species, including Dickcissels and grasshopper sparrows, were more abundant in experimental fields than control fields. Dickcissels were 3 times more abundant in experimental fields. Experimental fields had a species richness of 24, compared to a richness of 18 in control fields. Several differences between treatments were also seen in nesting behavior. Of 100 nests found throughout the field season, 88 were in experimental fields. Additionally, nest densities were 3 times greater in experimental fields. Nest success was 37-40% in both experimental and control fields. Differences in vegetation characteristics were also observed. The control field vegetation was composed of only 1.5% forbs and 2% bare ground. Conversely, experimental fields were composed of 25% forbs and 25% bare ground. Litter (dead material in contact with the ground) was two times deeper in control fields than experimental. Finally, vegetation height was relatively uniform in control fields, ranging from 34 to 71 cm throughout the summer. Vegetation height in experimental fields varied greatly, from 24 to 90 cm, indicating a diversity of heights throughout the field. Bird surveys and nest searches resumed in May of this summer, with some slight modifications. Nest searches have been intensified to achieve the goal of finding 200 nests. Following this summers field season, results from the two field seasons will be compiled, analyzed, interpreted, and reported.

The location of CRP fields within the Focus Area that are used in the grassland bird study.

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Species Richness 30 25 # of Species 20 15 10 5 0 Disked/interseeded Management Unmanaged 24 18 Species Richness

Forbs (%)

Grasses (%)

Bare Ground (%)

Litter depth (cm)

Visual Obstruction

Disked/interseeded Unmanaged

25 1.5

33 60

25 2

1.5 3.3

3.04 2.67

Abundance of Two Species of Grassland Birds
1 0.9 0.8 Birds/hectare 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 Grasshopper Sparrow Dickcissel Disked/interseeded Unmanaged

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The Nebraska Conservation Reserve Program-Management Access Program (CRP-MAP) is an innovative and unique approach designed to address wildlife habitat, hunting, and trapping access issues in the state. CRP-MAP is a joint effort funded by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Pheasants Forever and the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and private landowners also support the program. The access portion of CRP-MAP opens more than 184,000 acres of private land to the public for walk-in hunting. The Management portion of CRP-MAP improves wildlife habitat on CRP lands. Research shows that habitat is the key to an abundance of any wild species. Light disking is the primary means used in CRP-MAP to enhance wildlife habitat. Light disking promotes the growth of broad-leafed plants, which provide important food and cover for wildlife and adds to the overall diversity of the site. In addition to the “volunteer” plants that grow following the disturbance provided by light disking, legumes like alfalfa and sweet clover are planted to improve habitat conditions. These legumes are nitrogen-rich and attract insects essential in the diet of newly hatched, ground-nesting birds like pheasants. Likewise, in CRP tracts that have been newly seeded with a permanent grass/forb mixture or in which the mixture has been recently “upgraded” as required by USDA, these “volunteer” plants will dominate the site initially. CRP-MAP requires that this important cover component not be destroyed by mowing or spraying, but be retained to serve as wildlife habitat.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture, acting through the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, has cooperated in allowing habitat management on CRP tracts administered by the USDA program. Landowners make habitat improvements to their CRP tracts and allow walk-in public access for hunting and trapping. Hunting permits and habitat stamp revenue fund NGPC participation in the CRP-MAP program. Pheasants Forever funding comes from donations by its Nebraska chapters, earned through banquets and other local fund raising events. The Trust is funded through lottery proceeds. Therefore, hunters who purchase permits and habitat stamps, individuals and businesses that have supported Pheasants Forever chapters and citizens who play the lottery, compensate landowners. CRP-MAP began as a pilot program in 1997 with 20,000 acres enrolled in 28 counties. The overall response of hunters and participating landowners surveyed during that first year was positive. The responsible behavior displayed by hunters and trappers has demonstrated the soundness of CRP-MAP. Landowner acceptance of the management practices and walk-in hunting access is reflected in the growth of the program from 70,000 acres statewide in 1998 to 184,000+ acres each year.

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CRP-MAP Summary
Year
2004-05 2003-04 2002-03 2001-02 2000-01 1999-00 1998-99 1997-98 1997-2004

Contracts
706 778 796 775 717 586 484 166 5,008

Acres
178,994.4 184,558.1 184,710.8 178,186.6 156,460.3 116,794.3 70,599.1 19,867.2 1,090,170.8

Rental Payments
$517,787.56 $597,572.80 $504,612.62 $567,319.59 $485,731.90 $379,232.06 $275,158.78 $86,899.45 $3,414,314.76

This program now enrolls about 15% of the available CRP acres in the state each year and is widely accepted by landowners, hunters and the general public. In the past few years, enrollment in the program has been held at existing levels due to budget limitations. If enacted, “Open Fields” legislation would allow this program to expand, enrolling additional acres to produce better wildlife habitat.
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These legume mixtures have been designed to use in CRP grass stand improvements throughout Nebraska. The cost of the mixtures range from $7.00 to $18.00 per acre. Legume Mixture #1
5.0 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa ................................................3.0 Red Clover........................................1.5 Sweet Clover ....................................0.5

Legume Mixture #2
5.0 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa ...........................................3.0 Sweet Clover................................2.0

Legume Mixture #3
3.85 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa................................................3.0 Sweet Clover ....................................0.5 Black-eyed Susan...........................0.05 Illinois Bundleflower ..........................0.2 Maximillian Sunflower .......................0.1

Legume Mixture #4
6.0 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa ............................................3.0 Sweet Clover.................................1.0 Hairy Vetch ...................................2.0

Legume Mixture #5
4.25 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa................................................3.0 Sweet Clover ....................................1.0 Maximillian Sunflower .......................0.1 Black-eyed Susan ...........................0.05 Purple Prairie Clover.........................0.1

Legume Mixture #6
5.80 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa ...........................................3.0 Red Clover ...................................1.0 Crimson Clover ............................1.0 Alsike Clover ................................0.5 Hairy Vetch...................................0.3

Legume Mixture #7
3.45 lbs PLS/acre Alfalfa ................................................. 2.0 Red Clover ......................................... 0.8 Black-eyed Susan ............................ 0.05 Illinois Bundleflower ........................... 0.2 Lemon Mint ........................................ 0.1 Showy Partridgepea ........................... 0.2 White Prairieclover ............................. 0.1

Some of the costs of supplying these legume mixtures have been underwritten by Star Seed Inc. and Mycogen Seed Company. Their support has allowed the partnership to establish habitat projects at reduced costs.

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Kansas Mid-Contract Management Practices
Kansas offers Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants the option of six mid-contract management practices. The primary focus is to increase plant diversity, create open spaces and improve habitat cover in well established stands by temporarily reducing the vigor of perennial grass while improving CRP cover for wildlife. Kansas is fortunately dominated by native grass cover on CRP acreage. Under normal establishment conditions, the cover on CRP offers the best habitat for upland birds and their broods during the first year of seeding. The quality of the habitat generally declines in consecutive years until the tall native perennial grass offers little for upland birds or their broods by the fourth or fifth year. Selection of the appropriate management practice is a management decision made by the CRP participant working in consultation with an NRCS technician, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) and other conservation partners. Practice selection is based upon sound conservation planning principles that best achieves wildlife habitat improvement. All of the management activities are made available when the cover is considered established and in most cases can be performed on more than one occasion but must be performed at a time when the benefits will outweigh the cost. Consideration to site specific factors such as erosion problems in fragile areas or high risk areas of noxious weed colonization is required when planning management practices. Mid-contract Management Practices work in conjunction with other conservation partners incentive programs to improve wildlife cover. KDWP, Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Unlimited (QU) offer incentives for legume inter-seeding, CRP Wildlife Upgrades, Upland Bird Habitat Incentive Programs, Food Plots, and Brood strips. KDWP’s Walk In Hunting Program (WIHA) is also a popular choice for Kansas CRP participants.

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KDWP realized the benefits of mid-contract management practices for upland bird nesting and brood rearing habitat. As such, major CRP upgrade projects have occurred in 3 of 5 administrative regions. Basically these projects provided incentives to CRP contract holders to upgrade their CRP. Usually a cash incentive was paid on top of the per acre payment for completing the practice. Almost all of these efforts were cooperatively funded by KDWP and PF or QU. A combination of strip disking, interseeding (mostly alfalfa) and burning were offered. Some practices were completed by the landowners and others by contractors. Several thousand acres were treated in the past few years; most prior to mid-contract management cost-share being available from USDA.

The following management practices are offered in Kansas: Practice Available on: Prescribed Burning Inter-seeding Most Practices – limited to alternating years Most Practices - limited to species not established in original mix 10 practices for re-enrolled and new contracts CP10, not applicable on new offers CP1, CP2, CP4B, CP4D, CP10, CP18B & C Same as managed grazing

Operation Period Feb. 1 – April 15 Outside of nesting season After dormancy to April 15 Outside of nesting season 120 day period from July 16 to Nov. 12 30 day period from July 16 to August 15

Light Disking Brush Management Managed Grazing Managed Haying

Examples of strip disking projects from Kansas.

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Mid Contract Management on CRP
Iowa Job Sheet CRP – 1
Narratives Mid-contract Management of CRP Practice CP1
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Management activities may occur as early as year four and ending no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable methods may include one or a combination of the following: Spraying to suppress existing cover, light disking, or inter-seeding to diversify the cover. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to any of the management methods described above. Mid-contract management must be conducted on each contract acre a minimum of one time during the contract period.

Practice CP2
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Management activities may occur as early as year six and ending no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable methods may include one or a combination of the following: Light disking, inter-seeding to diversify the cover or prescribed burning. If prescribed burning is selected, seedings that include native forbs may benefit from a fall or dormant burn. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15- August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to disking or interseeding. Mid-contract management must be conducted on each contract acre a minimum of one time during the contract period.

Practice CP4B and CP4D (Introduced Species)
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Management activities may occur as early as year six and ending no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable methods may include one or a combination of the following: Spraying to suppress existing cover, light disking, or inter-seeding to diversify the cover. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15- August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to any of the management methods described above. Areas planted to trees or shrubs are not subject to mid-contract management. Mid-contract management must be conducted on each contract acre (not planted to trees or shrubs) a minimum of one time during the contract period.

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Mid Contract Management on CRP
Iowa Job Sheet CRP – 1
~ Continued ~

Practice CP4B and CP4D (Native Species)
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Management activities may occur as early as year six and ending no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable methods may include one or a combination of the following: Light disking, inter-seeding to diversify the cover or prescribed burning. If prescribed burning is selected, seedings that include native forbs may benefit from a fall or dormant burn. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to disking or interseeding. Areas planted to trees or shrubs are not subject to mid-contract management. Mid-contract management must be conducted on each contract acre (not planted to trees or shrubs) a minimum of one time during the contract period.

Practice CP10 (Introduced)
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Contract management will be required twice on every acre during the contract period, once in the years one through three and again starting as early as year six and no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable methods may include one or a combination of the following: Spraying to suppress existing cover, light disking, or inter-seeding to diversify the cover. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15- August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to any of the management methods described above.

Practice CP10 (Native)
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Contract management will be required twice on every acre during the contract period, once in the years one through three and again starting as early as year six and no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable methods may include one or a combination of the following: Light disking, inter-seeding to diversify the cover or prescribed burning. If prescribed burning is selected, seedings that include native forbs may benefit from a fall or dormant burn. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to disking or interseeding.

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Mid Contract Management on CRP
Iowa Job Sheet CRP – 1
~ Continued ~

Practice CP25 (Contracts Less than 12 years)
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Management activities may occur as early as year six and ending no later than year eight. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable method are prescribed burning or light disking. If light disking is used, interseeding with native forbs is recommended. Seedings that include native forbs may benefit from a fall or dormant burn. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15- August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to disking or interseeding.

Practice CP25 (Contracts Greater than 12 years)
This practice requires management activities to maintain wildlife benefits of the practice. Management activities will occur twice on every acre during the contract period at mid-contract beginning in year six and ending no later than year eight. The second management activity will begin in year eleven and end no later than year thirteen. No more than one third of the area may be treated in any given year, unless an exception is granted by NRCS or other Technical Service Provider. For this practice acceptable method are prescribed burning or light disking. If light disking is used, interseeding with native forbs is recommended. Seedings that include native forbs may benefit from a fall or dormant burn. No management activity may occur during the primary nesting season of May 15- August 1. Managed haying or grazing (with applicable payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to disking or interseeding. Name_____________________________ Field(s)____________________ See attached aerial photo for areas to be treated. Tract______________________

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Mid contract management on CRP
Iowa Job Sheet CRP – 1
Name_____________________________ Field(s)___________________ See attached aerial photo for areas to be treated. Tract______________________ Purpose Mid contract management (MCM) will be conducted on certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General sign up practices. The purpose of MCM is to manage established plant communities in order to maintain an early successional stage. Management will: • Increase plant community species and structural diversity. • Provide wildlife habitat for those species that use early successional stage vegetative habitat. • Provide habitat for declining species. • Remove duff and control woody vegetation. Where does it apply? MCM is required on general CRP contracts entered into during sign up 26 or subsequent sign ups. MCM applies to CRP practices CP1, CP2, CP4B, CP4D, CP10 and CP25. MCM will be applied to every acre at least once during the contract life. MCM is available for any CRP acres with these CP practices at the 50% cost share rate. How it helps Managing plant communities is beneficial if not essential for less mobile animal species. The less mobile the species of wildlife, the more important it is to provide all the life cycle habitat requirements for multiple species in a small area (songbirds, quail, and pheasants). MCM will be designed to achieve the desired plant community in density, vertical and horizontal structure, and plant species diversity needed by the targeted wildlife species. Methods used will be designed to maintain soil and water quality criteria. Used alone or in combination with other techniques, mechanical methods (prescribed burning, light disking, mowing, chemical application, or a combination of the above) can be used to manipulate and maintain the desired successional habitat stages. MCM should be used not more than once every three years on the same location in a field. Options NRCS Standards and Specifications will be used to apply options. Applying an option may involve multiple activities. See the applicable Standard for the activities to be completed for the chosen option.

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Select (check) one of the following options:

□ Light Disking (2-4” deep) of existing stands (four years and older) may be necessary to increase
the amount of open ground and encourage a diverse plant community of annual and perennial plants. Disk between October 1 and April 30. Rotate the disked areas, either blocks within the field or strips across the field, following the CRP conservation plan. The disked area should provide no more than 50 percent bare ground leaving at least 50 percent ground cover of residue to prevent soil erosion. Follow NRCS Early Successional Habitat Management Standard (647). habitat. Controlled fire can allow germination of seed bearing annuals, increase plant species diversity, control unwanted woody cover, and open up the stand for movement of small animals and birds. Follow the NRCS Prescribed Burning Standard (338). Any burns must be done according to a Prescribe Burn Plans reviewed by NRCS.

□ Use Prescribed Burning to remove excess litter, which may reduce the quality of wildlife

□ Selected Herbicides may manipulate plant succession and improve habitat diversity. Careful planning and care in application are required in the use of chemicals to improve existing habitat. Selection of products should be based on several factors including product effectiveness, non-target species impact, toxicological risks, and off-site movement of chemicals. See the NRCS Pest Management Standard (595) for precautions. Not applicable to practice CP25. such as alfalfa, ladino or red clovers, or native legumes and forbs such black-eyed susan, partridge pea, white or purple prairie clover, tick trefoil, Illinois bundle flower, etc., will add diversity and structure to existing cover. Interseeding may be used in conjunction with any of the above MCM options or used as a stand alone single MCM option. Follow the NRCS Conservation Cover Standard (327) for seeding dates and interseeding methods. Interseed forbs at 25-50 percent of pure seeding rate. No MCM option may be applied during the May 15 to August 1 primary nesting season.

□ Interseeding may be used to enhance existing cover. The addition of introduced legumes

Managed haying or grazing (with 25% payment reduction) may be used to reduce duff prior to light disking, spraying or interseeding. Measures must be provided to control noxious weeds and other invasive species. To protect forbs and legumes that benefit native pollinators and other wildlife and provide insect food sources for grassland nesting birds, spraying or other control of noxious weeds shall be done on a “spot” basis. All habitat manipulations will be planned and managed according to soil capabilities and recommendations for management that will maintain soil loss within tolerable (T) limit. The practice may be used to promote the conservation of declining species, including, threatened and endangered (plant, wildlife, or aquatic) species.

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IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES WILDLIFE HABITAT ESTABLISHMENT INVOICE
To: Iowa Department of Natural Resources From: (Cooperator/Contractor Name) (Address)

(City) Social Security or Federal ID Number: Cooperator’s Name: Cooperator Number: Cooperator Farm Location:

(State)

(Zip code)

This is to certify that the following wildlife habitat practices were established under the Department’s Pheasant & Quail Restoration Program. All wildlife habitat practices were established in accordance with the specifications provided by the DNR wildlife biologist. This form will be used to calculate all costs for which reimbursement/payment is requested. Flat rates for each wildlife habitat practice are provided below and shall be used to claim costs for any work performed by the Cooperator/ Contractor. “Complete” costs cover all equipment, labor and materials needed to establish the practice. Wildlife Habitat Practice Food Plots - mowing Food plots – prep, planting & mat. Food Plots - fertilizer, weed control Food Plots - complete Strip disking - pre mowing Strip disking - disking Strip disking - legume planting Strip disking - complete Natives - Initial mowing Natives - Initial brush mowing Natives - planting Natives - 1st mowing Natives - 2nd mowing Natives - 3rd mowing Native Seed (materials only) Natives - Complete Interseeding legumes Noxious weed control Prescribed burning Edge Feathering (linear feet) Edge Feathering (hourly rate) Spraying Shrub Plantings (1/3 acre) Burning Cost - subtotal DNR Incentive Payment Based on % Cost-Share Rate Contract Acres Actual Acres Cost/Acre 10.00 75.00 65.00 150.00 10.00 35.00 35.00 80.00 10.00 20.00 35.00 10.00 10.00 10.00 80.00 115.00 45.00 20.00 200.00 0.30/ Lin. 40.00/hr. 25.00 200.00 Total Cost

Fed MCM $5.60/a Fed MCM $9.88/a

Fed MCM $8.93/a Fed MCM $30/a

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CRP Mid Contract Management in Minnesota
USDA in Minnesota recently updated the cost share docket to include CRP mid-contract management practices and provided guidance to all FSA/NRCS offices and interested partners on CRP mid-contract management options. Spring 2005 is the first field season to see significant use of the mid-contract management burning provisions on existing CRP.

Disked and inter-seeded old cool season CRP

Unmanaged cool season CRP

Mid contract management options available to CRP contract holders in Minnesota include: Prescribed Burning – Landowners may either contract burn with a vendor or complete the burn themselves (with burn permit). Burning is a preferred method to manage planted native grasses and forbs as it allows germination of annuals, increases diversity, controls undesirable woody vegetation encroachment, and opens up the stand. See NRCS practice standard PRESCRIBED BURNING (338). Burning can only be completed outside of the primary nesting season. Burn permits are required and need to be obtained by the CRP contract holder. Disking – on introduced grasses, mechanical treatment by light disking is available to open up grass stands, improve cover, and increase diversity of stands. Inter-seeding – landowners may increase diversity and greatly improve brood habitats by interseeding legumes and forbs into existing CRP grasslands after disturbance (burning, light disking, or herbicide treatment). Mowing – landowners may mow their grasslands to control undesirable woody vegetation encroachment and stand reinvigoration on sites not suited to practices listed above.

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CRP Mid Contract Management in Minnesota
~ Continued ~
Landowners interested in managing their CRP grasslands should consult their USDA Service Center to obtain guidelines, modify conservation plans, and understand cost share rates for CRP midcontract management. NRCS Minnesota has Jobsheet #13 entitled “Forb and Legume Interseeding for Wildlife” and “Grassland Management” which describes approved activities, frequencies, design, and management considerations for CRP. Go to http://www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/ ecs/agron/crp/planform.html to download either document. Existing CRP (pre CRP Sign-up 29) contract holders will need to modify their conservation plan with NRCS to add mid-contract management before beginning work. Six Minnesota counties in partnership with local resource agencies (FSA, NRCS, SWCD, BWSR, DNR, USFWS, NGO) had landowner forums in the past several months with a focus on grassland management for wildlife and mid-contract management was included. Minnesota NRCS presented to the Minnesota Farm Bill Assistant Partnership (80 local county staff) and the Minnesota PF State Convention about the opportunities available through CRP mid-contract management. Otherwise, little promotion has been completed outside of normal USDA communications. Increased awareness and familiarity with the mid-contract management provisions, particularly the disk and inter-seed practice are priorities for PF Minnesota this year. PF will continue to work with landowners and partners (USDA, DNR, USFWS, BWSR) to realize increased grassland management on all Minnesota grasslands.

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CRP Mid Contract Management in Ohio
In June and July of 2004, a series of Mid Contract management tours were conducted around the state show resource professionals and landowner different management techniques. The tour was hosted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Pheasants Forever, NRCS and FSA. A total of six tours were conducted for over 300 people. Tours were generally attended by representatives from NRCS, FSA, SWCD, ODNR, certified TSP’s and landowners. Available Management Options: • Prescribed burning • Disking • Interseeding • Chemical application • No management Available cost share rates: • $30 per acre for Prescribed burning • $20 per acre for disking • $50 per acre for disking and interseeding • $30 per acre for chemical application The cost share rates in Ohio tend to be higher than their neighboring states. This was accomplished because higher cost share rates were sought early on in the process to try and encourage more and better Mid Contract management practices and projects on the ground. One of the biggest challenges facing the implementation of Mid Contract Management in Ohio is getting these projects done with all the other programs going on (CREP, CSP, CCRP, CRP, etc.).

A series of six Mid Contract Management tours were held around the state in 2004. 55

12th Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society
September 27, 2005 Madison, WI

CRP MID-CONTRACT MANAGEMENT AND BENEFITS FOR WILDLIFE
Moderator: James E. Inglis Organizers: Peter S. Berthelsen and L. Wes Burger

Sponsors:
Pheasants Forever International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Southeastern Quail Study Group

1:20 Eight years of upgrading CRP in Nebraska: Importance of partnerships and science. Peter S. Berthelsen 1:40 Breeding bird response to mid-contract management practices CP11 pine plantations in the Southeast. L. Wes Burger 2:00 An evaluation of management practices on native warm-season grass fields. John P. Gruchy 2:20 Mid-contract management of CRP and pheasant habitat selection in Northeast Nebraska. Ty W. Matthews 2:40 Native grassland restoration and renovation using herbicides. Thomas G. Barnes 3:00 Bobwhite quail response to mid-contract CRP management- A landowner perspective. Bill White 3:20 – 3:50 Break 3:50-4:10 Grassland bird response to disking and interseeding legumes in Conservation Reserve Program grasslands in Northeast Nebraska. Lucas P. Negus, Craig A. Davis, and Scott Wessel. 4:10 – 5:30 Panel Discussion (Includes all speakers above and representatives listed below) Sally L. Benjamin, National Wildlife Biologist, FSA Randall L. Gray, National Wildlife Biologist, NRCS Luke Miller, Ohio Division of Wildlife and Chair of IAFWA CRP Working Group

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Pheasants Forever is a nonprofit wildlife conservation group with over 115,000 members and 650 local chapters across the country. Our mission statement as an organization: The purpose of the organization is to protect and enhance pheasant and other wildlife populations throughout North America through public awareness and education, habitat restoration, development and maintenance, and improvements in land and water management policies.

Through our efforts to protect and enhance pheasant and other wildlife populations, chapters throughout the country can be seen undertaking the following activities:

Establishing wildlife habitat projects with private landowners.
• • • • • • • •

1.3 million acres of nesting cover. 25.9 million trees and shrubs. 97,100 acres of land acquisition. 53,100 acres of wetlands restored. 1.0 million acres of food plots Youth Education. Habitat Equipment. 92% of dollars raised going to Program Services.

Working with landowners and resource agencies to improve the wildlife habitat offered through existing habitat.
• • • • •

CRP Mid Contract Management. Controlled burns. Interseeding legumes Managed haying and grazing Offering better habitat mixtures.

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Working in partnerships with many Federal, State and local resource agencies to promote and develop better wildlife habitat.
• • • • • •

CRP-MAP State wildlife habitat programs. Improving CRP grass stands. Increased hunter access. Technical Service Provider biologists Seed Programs

Working to ensure the future of hunting and proper wildlife management by focusing on today’s youth.
• • • •

Ringnecks program. Youth Mentor Hunt programs. Leopold Education Program. Hunter Education Programs.

Working to promote and improve USDA Conservation Programs.
• • • • • •

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP). Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). Conservation Security Program (CSP). Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP).

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Providing access to specialized habitat equipment and crews of biologists to assist landowners in establishing wildlife habitat.
• • • •

Habitat Teams. No-till grass drills. Prescribed burning equipment. Habitat project planning.

Providing guidance and instruction to private landowners about conservation programs and wildlife habitat needs.
• • •

General CRP signup instruction. Habitat project planning. Cost share and program support for state CREP programs.

Making available to landowners a wide selection of habitat materials at improved pricing.
• •

• • •

Grass, legume and wildflower mixtures. Designing better wildlife mixtures for CRP and CRP Mid Contract management projects. Trees, shrubs and fabric weed barrier. Chemical herbicides. No-till grass drills.

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Tour Contacts from Nebraska
Name
Amack, Rex

Organization
Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Director

Title

Telephone
402-471-5539 308-754-5339 402-437-4103 402-471-5411 402-471-5561 308-865-5308 308-763-2940 402-471-5537 402-437-4100 402-437-5456 402-471-5420 308-535-8025 402-370-3374 402-471-5439 402-684-2921 402-370-3374 402-437-5581

E-mail ramack@ngpc.state.ne.us Phasianus@aol.com Steve.Chick@ne.usda.gov jdouglas@ngpc.state.ne.us sluedtke@ngpc.state.ne.us tmccoy@ngpc.state.ne.us emunter@ngpc.state.ne.us knelson@ngpc.state.ne.us Ritch.Nelson@ne.usda.gov Greg.Reisdorff@ne.usda.gov sriley@ngpc.state.ne.us drochford@ngpc.state.ne.us cstalling@ngpc.state.ne.us staylor@ngpc.state.ne.us bvodehnal@ngpc.state.ne.us swessel@ngpc.state.ne.us Brian.Wolford@ne.usda.gov

Berthelsen, Peter Pheasants Forever, Inc. Director of Conservation Programs Chick, Steve Douglas, Jim Luedtke, Scott McCoy, Tim Munter, Emily Nelson, Kirk Nelson, Ritch Reisdorff, Greg Riley, Steve Rochford, Dan Stalling, Clayton Taylor, Scott Vodehnal, Bill Wessel, Scott Wolford, Brian Natural Resources Conservation Service Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm Service Agency Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Farm Service Agency State Conservationist Wildlife Division Administrator District Manager District Manager District Manager Assistant Director State Wildlife Biologist Program Specialist Habitat Partners Section Leader District Manager District Manager Upland Gamebird Specialist District Manager Biologist III State Executive Director

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Mid Contract Management Tour Attendees
June 1-2, 2005 Stanton County, Nebraska
Last Name Allen Allen Anderson Arnes Bachman Bahm Beall Becker Beethe Benson, Jr. Berthelsen Bigalke Bogenschutz Bonge Bramble Bramble Brummond Brus Campbell Carroll Clark Clinch Connelly Crouch Davis Deters Dewald Dubsky Duggan Duggan Dunn Edwards Erbst Evelsizer Fredbo Gabbert Gagner Gartner Gaschler Gaska Goc Gregory Hakes Hamel Hare Haroldson Harper Hermansen Hoek Holland Holt Inglis Johansen Johnson Jones Jones Jost First Name Craig Art Casey Frank Jamie Matt John Tim Lisa George Peter Ben Todd Glen Kerry Josh Scott Keith Daryl Don Dale Michael Steve Barth Craig Aaron David Darrel Joe Joe Randy Andy Laura Andrea Tim Andy Dave Don Dennis Jeff Cassidy Terry Ross Bob Dan Kurt Graham Tim Tabor Matt Jake Jim Pamela Jordan Thomas Jeremiah James Representing Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit US Geologic Survey North Dakota Game & Fish Department Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Oklahoma State University South Dakota State University Pheasants Forever, Inc. Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Nebraska Environmental Trust Focus On Pheasants Contractor Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasants Forever, Inc. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Elkhorn Valley Honey Company Elkhorn Valley Honey Company Logan Creek Pheasants Forever Chapter Pheasants Forever, Inc. Farm Service Agency Farm Service Agency Focus On Pheasants Landowner Farm Service Agency Farm Service Agency Pheasants Forever, Inc. Oklahoma State University Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm Service Agency Lincoln Journal Star Pheasants Forever, Inc. Dixon County Pheasants Forever Chapter Pheasants Forever, Inc. Stanton Register Pheasants Forever, Inc. Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Natural Resources Conservation Service Pheasants Forever, Inc. Farm Service Agency Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasants Forever, Inc. Idaho Department of Fish & Game Monsanto Star Seed Inc. Pheasants Forever, Inc. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources US Senate Agriculture Committee Pheasants Forever, Inc. Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasants Forever, Inc. Farm Service Agency Pheasants Forever, Inc. Natural Resources Conservation Service Pheasants Forever, Inc. Farm Service Agency Location Title/Position Nebraska Unit Leader Colorado North Dakota PLI Field Operations Coordinator Nebraska Chapter Committee Member Nebraska Grassland Songbird Project Technician South Dakota Doctoral Research Assistant Ohio NAWCA/Farm Bill Representative Nebraska Chapter Committee Member Nebraska Grants Administrator Nebraska Farmer Nebraska Director of Conservation Programs South Dakota Regional Wildlife Biologist Iowa Upland Wildlife Research Biologist Nebraska Chapter Committee Member Nebraska Owner Nebraska Owner Nebraska Chapter Committee Member Nebraska Regional Wildlife Biologist South Dakota Conservation Chief Nebraska County FSA Committee Member Nebraska Landowner Nebraska County FSA Committee Member Washington, DC Deputy Admin. for Farm Programs Kansas Regional Wildlife Biologist Oklahoma Associate Professor Kansas Regional Biologist North Dakota State Wildlife Biologist Nebraska County FSA Committee Member Nebraska Outdoor Reporter Minnesota VP of Corporate Relations & Marketing Nebraska Chapter Committee Member Indiana Regional Wildlife Biologist Nebraska Editor Iowa Regional Wildlife Biologist Minnesota Easement Program Manager South Dakota Washington, DC Chief of Staff Nebraska National Board Member Kansas Program Specialist Wisconsin Regional Wildlife Biologist Nebraska Grassland Songbird Project Technician Idaho Habitat Biologist Minnesota Kansas Plant Manager North Dakota Regional Wildlife Biologist Minnesota Farmland Wildlife Popn. & Res. Group Washington, DC Majority staff Nebraska Wildlife Biologist Minnesota Board Conservationist Minnesota Director of Conservation Programs Nebraska Wildlife Biologist Ohio Regional Wildlife Biologist Nebraska Stanton County Executive Director Nebraska Grassland Songbird Project Technician North Dakota Nebraska Pheasant Project Technician North Dakota

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Mid Contract Management Tour Attendees
Last Name Kemner Koester Kramper Kuehl LaFluer Langenburg Larsen Leathers Maas Magnussen Magnussen Mathews Matthes McGhee McMasters Mead Mechlin Miller Modrell Murano Murren Myerchin Negus Nelson Nelson Nomsen O'Connor Oja Oschner Parker Parker Pasold Pembelton Penning Platt Powell Reisdorff Riley Roaldson Robbins Rue Sandquist Schole Schroeder Schroeder Schultz Schwartz Shelbourn Simpson Smith Smith Sprague Stalling Steffl Stoley Sutherland Sykes First Name Representing Don Idaho Department of Fish & Game Larry Dixon County Pheasants Forever Chapter Vince Nebraska Environmental Trust Aaron Pheasants Forever, Inc. Jim Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Vicki Farm Service Agency Drew Pheasants Forever, Inc. Ron Pheasants Forever, Inc. Karen Farm Service Agency Scott Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Brad Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Ty University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lonnie Logan Creek Pheasants Forever Chapter Darryl Farm Service Agency Gabe Pheasants Forever, Inc. Ryan Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Larry Missouri Department of Conservation Luke Ohio Department of Natural Resources Jim Logan Creek Pheasants Forever Chapter Rocco Pheasants Forever, Inc. Thad Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Sheldon US Fish & Wildlife Service Lucas Oklahoma State University Kirk Nebraska Game & Parks Commission W. Don Senator Ben Nelson's Staff Dave Pheasants Forever, Inc. Matt Pheasants Forever, Inc. Mark Natural Resources Conservation Service Ron Farm Service Agency Gary Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Mike Pheasants Forever, Inc. Jeff Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Ed Pheasants Forever, Inc. Bill Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Al Focus On Pheasants Landowner Larkin University of Nebraska - Lincoln Greg Farm Service Agency Steve Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Jon North Dakota Game & Fish Department Shon Pheasants Forever, Inc. Jeff Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks Eran Pheasants Forever, Inc. Adam Pheasants Forever, Inc. Troy Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks Duane Logan Creek Pheasants Forever Chapter Kathy Pheasants Forever, Inc. Tom Pheasants Forever, Inc. Bob Elkhorn Valley Pheasants Forever Chapter Brad Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks Kelly Iowa Department of Natural Resources Matt Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks Bruce Pheasants Forever, Inc. Clayton Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Matt Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Shelley Pheasants Forever, Inc. Robin Natural Resources Conservation Service Jason Pheasants Forever, Inc. Location Idaho Nebraska Nebraska Minnesota Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Minnesota Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Idaho Nebraska Missouri Ohio Nebraska South Dakota Nebraska Minnesota Oklahoma Nebraska Nebraska Minnesota Iowa Minnesota Nebraska Nebraska Michigan Nebraska Minnesota Minnesota Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska North Dakota Pennsylvania Kansas Minnesota Nebraska Kansas Nebraska Nebraska Illinois Nebraska Kansas Iowa Kansas Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Title/Position Upland Game Biologist Chapter Committee Member District 1 Board member Regional Wildlife Biologist Chapter Committee Member Stanton County FSA Committee Member Regional Wildlife Biologist Grants Coordinator Stanton County CRP program specialist Chapter Committee Member Chapter Committee Member Pheasant Research Project Leader Chapter Committee Member County Executive Director Regional Wildlife Biologist Chapter Committee Member Agriculture Field Station Supervisor Wildlife Biology Project Administrator Chapter Committee Member Wildlife Habitat Extension Biologists Chapter Committee Member Partners For Wildlife State Coordinator Grassland Songbird project leader Assistant Director VP of Governmental Affairs Habitat Team Coordinator State Wildlife Biologist State FSA Committee member Commissioner Regional Wildlife Biologist Chapter Committee Member Director of Leopold Education Program Farmland Wildlife Program Leader Landowner Assistant Professor Program Specialist Habitat Partners Section Leader Private Lands Biologist Regional Wildlife Biologist Regional Biologist Regional Wildlife Biologist Grassland Songbird Project Technician Agricultural Liaison Chapter Committee Member Administrative Assistant Regional Wildlife Biologist Chapter Committee Member Private Lands Coordinator Private Lands Program Coordinator Regional Biologist Wildlife Biologist District Manager Wildlife Biologist Wildlife Biologist District Conservationist Wildlife Biologist

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Mid Contract Management Tour Attendees
Last Name Taylor Thrall Toombs Tronbak Ungerer Van Waus Vandever Varland Vickers Vincent Voelkers Wells Welstead Wessel White White Winkler Wiser Wolford Wooley Yapp Young First Name Scott Tom Ted Jason Jon Dave Mark Ken Shaun Howard John Kim Tom Scott Ed Bill Rod Galen Brian Jim Greg Rick Representing Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Environmental Defense Environmental Defense Pheasants Forever, Inc. Natural Resources Conservation Service Pheasants Forever, Inc. US Geologic Survey Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Natural Resources Conservation Service Pheasants Forever, Inc. Pheasants Forever, Inc. Missouri Department of Conservation Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Iowa Department of Natural Resources Missouri Department of Conservation Farm Service Agency Logan Creek Pheasants Forever Chapter Farm Service Agency Pheasants Forever, Inc. Natural Resources Conservation Service Pheasants Forever, Inc. Location Nebraska Wisconsin Colorado South Dakota Kansas Iowa Colorado Minnesota South Dakota Minnesota Nebraska Missouri Nebraska Nebraska Iowa Missouri Kansas Nebraska Nebraska Iowa South Dakota Minnesota Title/Position Upland Gamebird Specialist Consultant Consultant Wildlife Habitat Extension Biologists Buffer Coordinator Regional Wildlife Biologist Regional Wildlife Manager State Resource Conservationist President & Chief Executive Officer Pheasant Project Technician Agricultural Systems Ecologist District Wildlife Manager Wildlife Biologist Wildlife Management Technician Program Specialist Chapter Committee Member State Executive Director Senior Wildlife Biologist Resource Conservationist VP of Field Operations

The 2004 Mid Contract Management Tour had a total of 60 people from 7 states and Washington, DC representing 15 organizations on it. This years tour has 136 people registered from 16 states and Washington, DC and represents 25 different organizations! Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to add to the sharing of information on this years tour.

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This photo is of a 13-year old CRP field that is over 1,000 acres in size and has had no management performed on it during its contract. It was originally established to a mixture of Brome grass and alfalfa and is now a monoculture of Brome grass that provides minimal wildlife benefits.

The same field was disked and interseeded with legumes to increase the diversity of the grass stand through the CRP-MAP program. It now has a diversity of cover that provides nesting, brood-rearing and winter cover for a variety of wildlife including grassland songbirds, pheasants and quail.

A grass stand that has been dominated by smooth bromegrass and lost its productivity for upland wildlife. An area that was excellent wildlife habitat in the past has now naturally moved through succession to a more mature grass stand in need of management.

On April 7, 2004, the grass stand is disked with three passes and then interseeded with a legume mixture. A minimum of three passes with a disk was necessary with a mature stand of bromegrass but still leaves more than 50% residue.

On July 29, 2004, the area now has a wide diversity of plant species, has an open understory, supports plants that attract insects, and is once again a diverse grassland. The legumes that were interseeded into the disked area are already present and providing brood-rearing habitat for pheasants as well as a diverse habitat for all types of grassland birds.

On May 30, 2005, the area now shows the true value of performing upgrades on mature grass stand. The area is providing excellent nesting and brood-rearing cover for a wide range of wildlife, especially pheasant, quail, waterfowl and grassland songbirds with 22” of undisturbed grass and forb cover.

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