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Hello,

I recently purchased 92 acres in Middlesex Twp (rt 8 and 228 area) and would like to hire someone to help develop a plan that I will then execute to improve the overall wildlife habitat. Can anyone recommend either a consulting company or even a experienced individual who can help?
 

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Contact your County Service Forestor if they have one, and also contact the PGC as they have a private landowner assistance program. The can help you develope a plan and give you advice on how to secure funds if available to assist you. Both services are free of cost to you.
 

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Both are great places to start. I would also contact the county NRCS office. They may have some cost share options available for you and even tho the co forester and the NRCS often work in the same building and have access to much of the same contractor info as suggested they don't always seem to do so. It doesn't hurt to call around to several of these agencies looking for info. Not all their resources are listed in their computers......
 

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Featherduster said:
Both are great places to start. I would also contact the county NRCS office. They may have some cost share options available for you and even tho the co forester and the NRCS often work in the same building and have access to much of the same contractor info as suggested they don't always seem to do so. It doesn't hurt to call around to several of these agencies looking for info. Not all their resources are listed in their computers......
Good adivce, but in order to receive funds thru the WHIP program or others you need to have a habitat plan in place. I had a plan from the county Service Forestor and one from the PGC Diversity Biologist and without them I would not have received any cost share funding. Having a plan in place shows the direction you want to proceed and what species you wish to help.
 

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Yes, tell the NRCS you want to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan. It's a good first step and seems to help you be a high priority landowner for the limited habitat management funds.
Independent of that, go to the QDMA shed and choose a couple habitat management books. Don't fall too in love with the foodplot books. Learn to manage the habitat before you get specific with foodplots. Make sure you choose books that are specific to our climate. You don't care much about Texas or Alabama.
Go slow. Learn. Plan. Then act. Become familiar with a chainsaw. It's a very valuable habitat management tool.
Good luck and welcome to the landowner club.
 

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Great points Rober and HITW especially the food plot advice. 100% right on needing a plan in place to enroll in cost share plans and FSP definitly adds brownie points when you get ranked for another plan. What I was getting at tho was the NRCS folks are very knowledgable for writing a plan and putting the pieces together with you---however--- not all plan writers are hunters. This can vary tremndously from co to co and if you get to see plans from all over the state it reflects if they hunt or not pretty quickly. I'm not saying what they prescribe in a plan is wrong but sometimes there are other or better ways to work habitat management practices into a plan that are cheaper and /or of greater benefit to both wallet and wildlife. Also if the landowner may want to expand on this work in the future the order of operations of practices need to be taken into account to minimize "rework". This is where finding a consultant that is not nessacarily on their list is beneficial to the landowner.
 

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FD, this is why I liked the report written by the PGC Diversity Biologist. He listed habitat for all species including song birds, frogs, lizards, among game animals. Having all these listed when trying to secure funds is very helpful. Where it came handy for me is all of the "Species of Concern" and "threatend" species that we had on our property. When you have species of concern and threatend species your point value adds up. The higher the point value gets you higher on the list and the better chance you have to receive funds. They only get a certain amount of funds each year so they have to make it count when they give the funds out. I found out it is important to have your home work done and have plans in place if you are looking for cost share funds. It gets you alot of work done while helping to share the cost.
 

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Yep, you got it. All the info he gave you is also available online by doing a PNDI search. Every consultant be they from PGC,NRCS, or other must run a check for those critters and habitat types before they can/ should write a plan for anybody.

Another thing to note is if a county doesn't use all of it's funds in their FISCAL year, they may not get as much the following year. RIght now the Golden Wing Warbler is hot with money in PA. WV and NY did not use most of their alloted money so it all got rolled over to PA. They are pushing hard to use that money up so right now even low ranking properties and plans are getting pushed thru. The last deadline for signups for GWW is soon but they will work from sign up date and give some time to get a plan together before finalizing paperwork.
 

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Contact your local Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever chapter. They will get you in touch with their biologist along with your local biologists. While primarily upland habitat, the same habitat has a huge impact on deer, turkey, rabbits, and non game species.
 
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