Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) was recently awarded nearly $500,000 to continue habitat work in Pennsylvania. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced more than $3.7 million in grants to restore forest and freshwater habitat in central Appalachia, including projects in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, naming the RGS & AWS as a recipient of funding.
The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program awarded the grants, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, AstraZeneca and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, with additional funding provided by Bezos Earth Fund.
RGS & AWS and its partners will use NFWF funding to provide forest habitat assistance to private landowners in three conservation priority areas of Pennsylvania – the Pennsylvania Wilds, the Laurel Highlands and the Upper Middle Allegheny.
Ben Jones, President and CEO of the Ruffed Grouse Society, said: “We have an incredible working relationship with NFWF, the R.K. Mellon Foundation, and all the partners involved here. It’s inspiring to receive half a million dollars in funding support! Individuals and families are vital to conservation because they oversee most of the forestland in Pennsylvania and other Eastern states. NFWF funding and our partnership with the Game Commission allows us to engage landowners on habitat improvement. This work also dovetails beautifully with ongoing public land efforts and that’s how we can have landscape-scale impact.”
Working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, RGS & AWS will recruit landowners who cooperate in the agency’s Hunter Access Program and whose lands are near public lands, specifically, State Game Lands. By focusing forest management near public lands, we can expand a habitat mosaic across a larger area.
Project coordination is already underway and the funding will be available later this year.
In addition to RGS & AWS, the 2023 grant recipients include Green Forests Work, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Tree Pittsburgh, Trout Unlimited, University of Pittsburgh, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
For more information about RGS & AWS's Mid-Atlantic Region, visit RuffedGrouseSociety.org/Mid-Atlantic-Regional- Page.