The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) recently received a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to establish three wildlife management cooperatives, including two in Oklahoma and one in Michigan.
“Landowner cooperatives are rapidly spreading across the United States, and this is a very positive sign for the future of hunting and wildlife management programs,” said QDMA Director of Education and Outreach Kip Adams.
Wildlife management cooperatives (WMC) are groups of neighboring landowners or property lessees working together to improve wildlife and/or habitat management programs. QDMA helped form one of the largest WMCs in the southern United States in April 2008 called the Greater Noxubee Wildlife Management Cooperative covering over 146,000 acres. The WMC’s purpose is to maximize landscape level conservation while enhancing wildlife habitat, hunting opportunities and stakeholder relationships. Using the Greater Noxubee WMC as a model, QDMA proposed the creation of three additional WMCs surrounding National Wildlife Refuges (NWR).
QDMA worked with Fish and Wildlife Service staff to select NWRs with the best potential for developing successful cooperative relationships with neighboring landowners and/or property lessees. The selected refuges for this project included Deer Fork NWR and Washita NWR in Oklahoma, and Shiawassee NWR in Michigan. QDMA Director of Education and Outreach Kip Adams helped launch both of the WMC’s in Oklahoma this week, and QDMA Certifications Program Manager Matt Ross will aid in the launch of the cooperative in Michigan on October 2.
QDMA will oversee each WMC during the first year of establishment to ensure continued success. After year one, QDMA will remain involved as a member and turn oversight of the WMCs over to the respective NWR managers.