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E-M:/ Ruffed Grouse Society

Enviro-Mich message from fenner@PioneerPlanet.infi.net (Ray Fenner)

While myself and many others, including the Sierra Club, are trying to end
commercial logging on Federal lands, Dan Dessecker, senior wildlife
biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society, is promoting MORE clearcutting and
logging on both federal and state public lands. He has always been a
proponant of more "timber management" (read clearcutting) for ruffed

Check out this Mpls. Star Tribune article (Outdoors Section). This is
Dessecker's latest strategy to convince the public, especially hunters,
that our forests need to be clearcut. It would behoove all of us to try and
stop this public-private "partnership" that amounts to nothing more than
having someone within the state DNR's, paid for by the Ruffed Grouse
Society, promoting clearcutting within the agencies (not that they need
much help promoting clearcutting anyway) and to the public.

Does anyone on this list know more about this situation within the MI DNR?
If so could they please update us on this listserv.


Ray Fenner
Superior Wilderness Action Network

P.S. This is pertinent to MI as it states in this article that the Ruffed
Grouse Society has hired someone to "handle" MI.

Published Sunday, July 11, 1999

Ruffed grouse group works to establish DNR post

Doug Smith / Star Tribune

Some people look at a clear-cut area in the woods and see an unsightly
and unwelcome disaster.

Dan Dessecker sees it as the beginning of a young forest that will
provide critical food and habitat for ruffed grouse, woodcock,
songbirds, deer and other wildlife.

Unfortunately, Dessecker says, well-intentioned but misinformed people
who oppose logging and other forest management practices are affecting
state and federal forest policies, to the detriment of ruffed grouse and
other wildlife.

"We see both the Department of Natural Resources and Forest Service as
paying less and less interest to habitat benefiting grouse and other
birds," said Dessecker, senior wildlife biologist with the Ruffed Grouse

The national conservation group, which has 5,000 members in Minnesota,
aims to change that.

Minnesota is about to get a full-time wildlife biologist whose only
concern will be ruffed grouse and grouse habitat. The person will help
promote wildlife habitat on both private and public lands. The job is
being set up as part of an unusual financial arrangement between the
conservation group and the state.

The Minnesota Legislative Commission on Natural Resources agreed to pay
$1 million over eight years to fund the new job. When that funding
stops, money from the Ruffed Grouse Society is expected to kick in to
keep the position viable.

The conservation group has already raised $1 million, which is earmarked
for an endowment that is expected to grow to about $2 million in eight

Interest from that endowment will pay for the salary and associated
costs of the wildlife biologist position in perpetuity, Dessecker said.
In all, the group is raising $6 million for five or six positions
nationwide. One biologist already has been hired to handle Michigan,
Indiana and Ohio. Another likely will be hired for Wisconsin.

"It's a big deal," said Dessecker of Rice Lake, Wis., who will supervise
the new Ruffed Grouse Society staff of biologists. "We're committing
substantial resources to getting people out on the ground to promote
sound forest stewardship. We're committed to Minnesota because it's so
important to ruffed grouse."

Ruffed grouse are the most popular game bird in Minnesota, and some
127,000 hunters hunted them last year.

The Minnesota biologist is expected to be hired by September and will be
based in the north-central part of the state. He or she will be expected
to educate and inform the public about forest management practices and
will work with hunters, landowners and government agencies. The person
will act as an advocate, which DNR biologists are not allowed to do,
Dessecker said.

"We want to make certain that in public discourse, there is recognition
that forest management is intertwined with wildlife management,"
Dessecker said. "We can't do one without the other.

"Our forest is more than simply trees. It's also wildlife habitat, and
what we do or don't do affects that habitat. The ability to manage them
is being slowly eroded. Increasingly there are lands taken out of
management. We keep whittling away at the pie."

Dessecker said his group isn't advocating unrestricted logging. "We need
a balance of young forest and old forest. Right now we're moving toward
an imbalance with mature forest."

It's young forests that are increasingly becoming scarce around the
country, he said. Minnesota, however, is in a better situation. A
thriving wood products industry has resulted in more timber harvest, and
thus more young forest areas.

Dessecker said people forget that the state's forests have always
undergone transitions from old growth to younger growth. "Historically,
wildfires raced across northern Minnesota and produced young forests on
a regular basis," he said. "Now we generally suppress forest fires
because of the danger they pose to human populations.

"Seeing forest management that mimicks [forest fires] is increasingly
difficult because it doesn't look good."

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