WGCPO Coordination - New Leadership, Familiar Face
* Bill Bartush, retired USFS, Ducks Unlimited, and USFWS employee was hired by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and began full-time work on 2 January 2019 as our West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas Partnership Coordinator.
* He hit the ground running, seamlessly continuing his leadership in developing the Texas Longleaf Initiative Team's Conservation Plan, with Kent Evans.
* He immediately (had already!) connected with our Conservation Delivery Network leadership in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
* Bill has facilitated the revitalization of the Arkansas-Louisiana CDN through face-to-face and teleconference meetings with the CDN Chair, David Breithaupt (LDWF) and newly-appointed Vice Chair, Ricky Chastain (AGFC), with focus on supporting and expanding the work of the Morehouse Family Forest Initiative, in concert with QF/PF and that NFWF grant.
* First-year NFWF funds for private lands habitat work in NE Texas (NETX Habitat Incentive Program; HIP) have been obligated ($60K) through cooperative agreements between National Wild Turkey Federation and landowners, and we are awaiting appropriate weather windows for prescribed fire activities (the bulk of the work funded by these agreements).
* We also have convened a group of local scientists to advise our bird monitoring efforts on NETX HIP sites, and are in the process of securing additional funds for more sample sites, purchasing equipment, and establishing the cooperative agreement with US Forest Service scientists to conduct the work.
* Bill has met on-site with key partners and HIP cooperator, and identified appropriate sampling sites.
* Bill is the lead for ABC in establishing necessary sub-agreements with NWTF and USFS for all the work funded by NFWF.
* We expect that mechanisms for similar private landowner assistance towards appropriate habitat restoration and management action will be teed up in the Arkansas-Louisiana CDN in the near term.