Mississippi Longleaf Coordination Team

Mississippi Longleaf Coordination Team

Mississippi Longleaf Implementation Team Update

By Tamara Campbell, US Fish & Wildlife Service

In the face of shrinking budgets and increasing restrictions, cooperative habitat management has gained popularity among partners in Mississippi.  The “Dead Dog Bog,” a 320-acre longleaf pine property, served as mitigation for highway construction and relocation of gopher tortoises in 2010. Several members of the Mississippi Longleaf Team, along with partners, have been instrumental in three prescribed burns on the property. They carefully planned and executed a prescribed burn in May 2017, followed by a tortoise burrow survey. The survey revealed increases in both total tortoise abundance and recruitment, showing promise that the site may someday support a viable population. This strong partnership shared resources, time, and expertise, and has led to numerous opportunities for future cooperation (i.e. gopher tortoise surveys, prescribed fire implementation, and collaborative research), while subsequently improving strategic habitat and increasing populations of rare and listed species.  Partners who participated in the cooperative project included the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Mississippi Marine Resources, Mississippi Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

IMAGE CAPTION:

A growing season prescribed burn carries across a pitcher plant bog at a gopher tortoise mitigation bank property, Dead Dog Bog, in Mississippi.  Photo by Justin Thayer.