June 18, 2008:  Irving Woodlands, LLC Recognized for Its Efforts in the Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative

Fort Kent (ME):  Irving Woodlands, LLC has received the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award for its part in the Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative.

The Cooperative Conservation Award is presented to groups and individuals who have achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships. 

In a citation letter addressed to company president James D. Irving, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne commends the company and its partners for “… its vision and leadership in developing a highly collaborative and effective wildlife recovery effort”.

The North American Bird Conservation Survey has ranked the American woodcock as a global priority species in need of conservation action, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has declared it as a national focus species.

The Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative (NFWI) includes collaboration among more than 25 partners that have pledged financial support and joint action to conserve and recover the woodcock.

Research biologist Daniel McAuley of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Orono, Maine says the American woodcock prefers young, even-aged forests. He says Irving Woodlands, LLC’s forestry practices and cooperation in the initiative allows researchers to develop models which will help foresters predict the best areas and methods to perform forest management to improve woodcock habitat. “The involvement of Irving Woodlands, LLC adds a lot of weight and credibility to what we’re doing. They are a major landowner and we are happy that they are addressing the habitat and management needs of the American woodcock,” said McAuley.

Irving Woodlands, LLC’s involvement in the initiative includes the development of best management practices, establishment of habitat demonstration areas, and monitoring of woodcock populations.

Irving Woodlands, LLC has helped researchers establish singing ground surveys to determine the health of the male woodcock population. During the mating season, a few minutes after sunset, male woodcocks will stand in a clearing and make a "peent" sound. They make half turns to broadcast the call in every direction. “The peenting goes on for a while, allowing researchers to count the number of males in the area,” McAuley said. “We’ll listen for two minutes in one spot, and then move three-tenths of a mile to another location and listen again, for a total of ten stops in one evening. By tracking these established singing grounds on Irving Woodlands, LLC land we are hopeful that we will see an increase in the number of males over time.”

Irving Woodlands, LLC Fish and Wildlife Manager John Gilbert is delighted that the company and its partners are being honored for the work that is being done on behalf of the American woodcock. “We are deeply appreciative of this award, and are pleased that our cooperation with our research partners is getting this positive recognition from the Department of the Interior,” said Gilbert. “Our continuing cooperation with the Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative will allow us to choose the right harvest prescription at the right time and place to increase woodcock populations.”

This scientific initiative is just one example of the many efforts underway at the company to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to forest management - for jobs, habitat, and the next generation.

For more information on the company’s environmental stewardship of air, water, and wildlife habitat, visit www.jdirving.com.

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Contact:

John Gilbert
Irving Woodlands, LLC
Fish and Wildlife Manager
(506) 632-6266

Daniel McAuley
U.S. Geological Survey
Research Biologist
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Orono, Maine
(207) 581-3357

Geoff Britt
J.D. Irving, Limited
Communication Officer
(506) 648-2609

Photos available