Forest, Wetlands & Habitat System
Verification in the Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat System recognizes the sustainable management practices implemented by landowners on their property. FWH verification provides landowners with a risk assessment targeting all areas of ownership.
The Forest, Wetlands & Habitat category focuses on practices that promote sustainable forestry, wetlands, and non-forest habitat. These include forest health; protecting air, water, and soil; and restoring habitat.
This category was created to help Michigan landowners to better understand, plan, manage, protect, and use their natural resources. To do this, conservation districts across the state provide education and one-on-one expert help to landowners on local forest health issues. Grants funds to support this work are provided by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The goal is to increase the number of landowners and acres that are managed under sustainable land management plans.
For more information, click this link to visit the MDARD Forestry Assistance webpage. The webpage includes a map where you can find your closest Forester: www.michigan.gov/mifap
Donald and Donna Miller of Licken Branch- Eaton County
Donald and Donna Miller, owners of the Licken Branch in Vermontville, had their property verified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) under the Forest, Wetlands and Habitat (FWH) System; the first FWH verification in Eaton County. The Millers have worked hard over the past several years to restore an abandoned gravel pit and turn it into a wildlife habitat. Once barren mine tailings, it is now covered with native species of grasses, bushes, and trees. Forest quality has improved through thinning, invasive species removal, and new tree plantings. Wildlife sightings are now common place for the Millers. In 2018, the Millers were awarded “Conservationist of the Year” by Eaton Conservation District.
The Millers continue to make improvements on their property, adding an additional 20 acres last few years. Recently, the Millers planted two additional food plots; the largest being five acres and consisting of corn and soybeans. In addition to creating a better habitat for the fish, the Millers also built wood duck houses for their pond and surrounding woods. The family plans to do more clear-cutting, as outlined by the forester, and some additional hinge cutting for brows and cover.