2022 Berggren Plan Web

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Page 15 of 63

16 Tactics CONTINUE to use current funding from hunting permits, habitat stamps, federal aid, and other grant programs to efficiently and effectively emphasize 1) provision of pheasant habitat quantity and quality, 2) improvement of access to those habitats for hunting, 3) improvement of the recruitment, retention, and reactivation rates of hunters, and 4) provision of accurate and timely information about game abundance and wildlife management to hunters CONTINUE to participate in and, if necessary, help create national, regional, state, and local conservation partnerships that yield tangible benefits for pheasants and hunters, with particular emphasis on including additional partners with different but overlapping interests (e�g�, those interested in providing habitat for pollinators, nongame birds, etc�) CONTINUE to work with a wide array of partners to influence USDA conservation and public access program options and implementation rules at the national, state, and county levels, with special emphasis on work through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and its affiliates ASSESS the feasibility of pursuing alternative funding sources (e�g�, a dedicated state sales tax, a special appropriation from the legislature, a nonwasting trust fund for pheasant conservation, etc�) in collaboration with our conservation partners ASSESS the feasibility of pursuing legislative actions that would promote pheasant habitat and hunting (e�g�, a property tax reduction, freeze, or similar incentive on cropland converted to grassland or stream buffers, later dates for required roadside mowing, promotion of prescribed fire, etc�) in collaboration with our conservation partners ASSESS the use of ecosystem service incentives (e�g�, sustainable agriculture, carbon markets, etc�) to help restore and conserve pheasant habitat ASSESS the feasibility of partnering with agricultural industry/groups, outdoor retailers, and corporate sponsors to increase funding or effectiveness of technical assistance delivery B. MANAGEABLE FACTORS AFFECTING PHEASANT ABUNDANCE At a basic level, the factors that determine the dynamics of many game species, including pheasants, are weather and climate (not manageable), and habitat availability and suitability� Although weather events might determine a given year's pheasant production, no production can occur where no suitable habitat is readily available� Here, suitable habitat includes all habitat types necessary to complete the annual cycle of the pheasant� Much research has been conducted in Nebraska that has helped refine, not only what such suitable habitat consists of, but also the scale at which habitat components can influence pheasant abundance� Matthews (2009) investigated whether pheasants showed similar responses to disking and interseeding as those observed for other grassland nesting species� He found that pheasant hens preferentially nested and brooded in disked and interseeded CRP fields compared to unmanaged CRP and other grasslands� Nest survival was highest in managed CRP fields, and brood survival increased with the amount of time spent in managed CRP fields, and production of roosters was twice as high in managed CRP as in unmanaged CRP and other grasslands� Jorgensen et al� (2014) observed that local management activities, although beneficial, do not always have the desired effect� The pheasant habitat suitability model predicts pheasant abundance based on land cover values of CRP, grass, trees, small grain, row crops, and wetlands� This model indicated that landscape level variables did influence the outcomes of management activities undertaken at a local, site-specific level, with some factors constraining and others facilitating the positive effects of local land management (Jorgensen et al� 2014)� The model of Jorgensen et al� (2014) predicted areas of the state where management activities could be undertaken most effectively, which aligns with the current plan's guiding principles� For Berggren Plan 2�0, habitat and hunter access efforts will be focused within six priority areas, termed "Focus on Pheasant" and "Pheasant Opportunity Areas" (Figure 5)� This prioritization of effort (and resources) was largely based on the pheasant habitat suitability model developed by Jorgensen et al� (2014)� Within the priority areas, the habitat goals for private lands include impacting more than 286,000 acres at an estimated cost of $3�9 million per year over five years and

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