Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in West Virginia

The Partners Program in West Virginia is administered from the West Virginia Field Office in Elkins, West Virginia. The program began in began in 1993, primarily as a wetland restoration program. In 1998, the Partners Program began assisting with riparian (streamside) restoration efforts throughout the State. The Program now includes woodland restoration, red spruce restoration, and control of invasive species. Projects are focused in areas where conservation efforts will provide the greatest benefit for federal trust species, which include: migratory birds, anadromous fish, and Federally-listed threatened and endangered species.

Objectives:

  • Restore historic habitat conditions, targeting wetlands and streams
  • Recovery of habitat for threatened and endangered species
  • Consideration of landscape setting to maximize benefits
  • Creation of large blocks of habitat to link species' refugia
  • Work with landowners for win-win partnerships that foster pride in good stewardship of the land

Conservation Strategies
Wetlands
Wetlands play an important role in the life support functions of migratory birds that are a trust resource of the Service. Restoration techniques focus on returning hydrology to formerly drained wetlands as economically as possible: drainage tiles broken and small berms and ditch plugs constructed to block the water from draining the site. Wetland restoration projects are carefully crafted to blend into the landscape and involve such methods as creating microtopography (i.e., little ridges and swales), establishing complexes of small seasonal wetlands, and restoring larger permanent wetlands.

Wetland restoration projects have been concentrated in the vicinities of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and the Chesapeake Bay drainage of West Virginia. These areas contain some of the best migratory waterfowl habitat in the State.

Riparian Areas and Streams
Streams and riparian areas support fish, mussels, amphibians and many other species of wildlife enjoyed by West Virginians. Many of our streams and streamside areas have become unstable due to unrestricted livestock grazing. Others have been repeatedly channelized after flood events, further adding to their instability. Unstable streambanks and stream channels will lead to future flooding problems, poor water quality, and reductions in fish and wildlife populations. Streambank fencing is one restoration technique that is cost effective and valued by farm groups and landowners. The West Virginia Partners Program has a highly skilled and well equipped fence construction crew that builds over 100,000 feet of high-tensile fence annually. The landowner benefits from having a quality fence to use as part of a rotational grazing system that allows the profitable yet wildlife-friendly use of the land. Streambank stabilization efforts have largely been re-vegetation and/or state-of-the-art "Natural Stream Design". The West Virginia Partners Program makes thousands of wetland and riparian friendly native shrub and tree seedlings available to the public each spring free of charge. For the NSD work we work in partnership with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and West Virginia Conservation Agency and the Conservation Districts.

Upland Forests
Forests provide excellent habitat for neo-tropical migrant songbirds, threatened and endangered species, and game species. Forest product income often exceeds agricultural income on some farms. The Partners Program works with landowner's to manage livestock access to forests, thereby improving pasture quality and forest quality.

Invasives
The control and eradication of invasive plants is vital to the integrity of fish and wildlife habitat. The West Virginia Partners Program has worked with many landowners to control and eliminate yellow iris, Japanese knotweed and purple loosestrife in the upper Potomac basin and other high elevation areas. Our program has contracted with local certified pest applicators to conduct treatment utilizing grant and program funds. The West Virginia Partners Program has also been instrumental in the formation of the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area. The PHCWPMA will provide technical assistance, treatment assistance and education to public and private landowners for the control of non-native invasive species.

Endangered Species
The Partners Program has worked with the Endangered Species Program to install gates on bat cave entrances so that the bats aren’t disturbed during their winter hibernation. Disturbances during hibernation forces the bats to expend energy reserves needed to get them through the winter. The program also provides assistance to private landowners with restoring high elevation red spruce habitat.

Farm Bill Conservation
In addition to habitat restoration, the Partners Program also improves the effectiveness of the conservation programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture by providing the technical expertise needed to evaluate which projects are best for fish and wildlife, demonstrating as well as recommending management and restoration techniques and providing data that lets the Federal funds be used most effectively. This relationship combines funding from the Department of Agriculture with the biological expertise of the Partners Program to maximize public benefits.

The Partners Program works with agricultural producers to keep farms both economically and biologically productive.


Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in West Virginia


Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in West Virginia

Callie McMunigal
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - West Virginia State Coordinator
694 Beverly Pike
Elkins, West Virginia  26241
Phone: (304) 636-6586 x17
Fax: (304) 636-7824


 

Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • West Virginia