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Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS, 39211
Phone: 601-432-2400

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Habitat Improvement Projects Ongoing at Marion County WMA

JACKSON - Marion County Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located south of Columbia, is the only state-owned WMA in Mississippi that is predominately forested with longleaf pine.  Prescribed fire is the primary tool used by Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) personnel on Marion County WMA to maintain desirable conditions in the area's longleaf forests.  Prescribed burning reduces competition from undesirable woody plant species, reduces potential of wildfire and disease risk for longleaf pine seedlings, and promotes growth of desirable herbaceous vegetation favorable to many wildlife species. If undesirable woody plant species such as gallberry, yaupon, and sweetgum become too large or dense, it often becomes impossible to control them with prescribed fire.  In these instances, selective herbicides are often utilized to offer additional control.

MDWFP was awarded a State Wildlife Grant in 2012 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to aid in the enhancement of wildlife habitat within Marion County WMA's longleaf pine forests.  Funds from this grant were used to improve firebreaks for expansion of prescribed burning.  Last year, the MDWFP used a portion of the grant funds to hire contractors to apply selective herbicides on approximately 700 acres of longleaf pine stands.  Recently, MDWFP used grant funds to treat an additional 700 acres of longleaf pine stands.  MDWFP personnel are planning to follow these treatments with prescribed fire in the upcoming spring.  The combination of selective herbicides and prescribed fire should drastically increase coverage of desirable plant communities that will benefit many wildlife species, including Bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and non-game species of concern such as gopher tortoises and Bachman's sparrows.

For more information regarding wildlife management areas in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/wma or call us at 601-432-2199. 

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