Department of Natural Resources
Goal: The DNR Wildlife Division is committed to improving nearly 450 acres of grassland habitat at the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area to benefit pheasants and a variety of other wildlife species. Long-term goal: to improve the quality of habitat for numerous wildlife species while improving pheasant hunting opportunities for mid-Michigan hunters.
Declining pheasant populations and low oak regeneration in the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area are issues the Michigan DNR is working to tackle with active habitat management. While these issues are typically handled with different habitat treatment techniques, the DNR is trying to address both issues with one fairly unique project.
The Rose Lake State Wildlife Area (SWA) falls within the core zone for the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI). The DNR, along with partners, will be improving roughly 450 acres of grassland habitat over the next several years for pheasants and other associated wildlife. The Rose Lake SWA also has roughly 400 acres of oak woodlots throughout the area. Due to a variety of factors that include invasive species encroachment, over-browsing by deer, and lack of active timber harvest over the last several decades, none of the oak woodlots at Rose Lake SWA are younger than 40 years old. In order to perpetuate oak on the landscape for generations, active timber management has to occur.
Likewise, without active management, much of the quality grassland habitat at Rose Lake SWA has become overgrown with shrubs and trees. To improve the quality of nesting, brood rearing, and winter cover, nearly 450 acres of the Rose Lake SWA will be managed to meet the needs of pheasants, grassland birds, and other wildlife.
In an attempt to accomplish both important goals of oak regeneration and quality grassland habitat, the DNR is conducting a timber sale at the Rose Lake SWA. This sale was bid out to prospective timber companies with one of the objectives being to thin two oak woodlots and improve conditions for oak saplings to develop. The other objective is to clear old fields and fencerows of trees and brush in order to prep the areas for future work. Once the old fields are cleared, the DNR and partners will work to restore those areas to quality grassland habitat over the next several years. Both projects are expected to improve the area for a variety of species of wildlife.