Don’t Let Ruffed Grouse Listing Result in More Clear-Cutting of Our State Forests

 

Indiana’s Natural Resources Commission has scheduled hearings on July 29 and 30 to accept public comment on a proposed rule change that would add the ruffed grouse to the state’s endangered species list.

While IFA generally supports the endangered species listing, we are opposed to any listings that will be used by the Department of Natural Resources to promote more clear-cutting in our state forests and the Hoosier National Forest in the Brown County hills, the stated aim for those seeking this rule change. These public forests in the Brown County hills provide the only large area of deep forest habitat in Indiana. Several deep forest bats, many forest songbirds and other animals depend upon this habitat to survive in Indiana.  Their total populations are in far more serious trouble than the ruffed grouse which is common across much of North America.

Hunters and others who support the ruffed grouse’s listing argue that it is a moral imperative to create more early succession habitat by cutting down mature forests to sustain the ruffed grouse and other game species in Indiana. But if the decline in Indiana’s ruffed grouse was due to a lack of early successional habitat, the huge increase in openings from large group tree selection harvests and clear-cutting that started 18 years ago in the state forests should have helped reverse this decline. Instead, it has had NO impact on the decline.

An alternative for the state would be to acquire more land that could be transitioned to early succession habitat rather than destroy mature forests that are so important to many other endangered species and that sequester the carbon that has put our planet in a climate crisis.

For these reasons, we need you to turn out for the rule-change hearings next week to speak loudly and let the DNR know that you oppose the endangered species listing for the ruffed grouse if it means more clear-cutting. 

The hearings will be:

  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 29: Mounds State Park, 4306 Mounds Road, Anderson. The wildlife rules hearing will be in the Pavilion.
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, July 30: McCormick’s Creek State Park, 451 McCormick Creek Park Road, Spencer. The wildlife rules hearing will be in the Oak Room.

Public comments also can be submitted onlineLocate the “comment on this rule” link in the Rulemaking Docket for the FW Biennial Wildlife Amendments.

Comments can also be mailed to: Natural Resources Commission, Indiana Government Center North, 100 North Senate Avenue, Room N103, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Prepare to act now to let state officials know that listing the ruffed grouse as a state endangered species should not mean more clear-cutting of our state forests.