Miami University Institute for Environmental Sciences and Butler County Pheasants Forever have jointly produced a Grassland Habitat
Restoration Handbook. This comprehensive handbook is a manual for understanding and enrolling in federal and state habitat
restoration programs. The manual covers soil types, plantings and management of the programs.
A copy of this manual is available by contacting our habitat chairman, Al Gerhart.The manual is over 200 pages and 30 megabytes in size,
however it is available to view on-line by clicking here.
The two major components of our habitat program are the establishment of Native Warm Season Grasses (NWSG's) and the
establishment of food plots. Our partnership with Miami University Institute of Environmental Sciences will produce a manual to help
explain many of the governmental programs available to help land owners who wish to plant wildlife habitat. Check our web page for more
Native Warm Season Grasses (NWSG)
NWSG's are a mixture of native prairie grasses and forbs, or wild flowers. Types of NWSG's are big bluestem, little bluestem, indian grass,
side oats and switchgrass. Mature height of these grasses ranges from two feet to as high as seven feet. It may take 1 to 3 years to
attain this height. Additional information on the types of NWSG's suited to plating in Ohio can be found at the Ohio Pheasants Forever
web site page http://www.ohiopf.com/pdf/warm_season_grass.pdf
The first step in establishment of NWSG's on your property is to remove all competing vegetation. This is done with a combination of
Round Up and Plateau herbicides. Additional, specialized herbicides may also be used. Additional information on herbicides may be
found at http://www.ohiopf.com/pdf/herbicide_recommendations.pdf
Once the old vegetation is dead, NWSG's are planted using a no-till drill designed to plant fluffy seeds. The forbs are added to the grass
seed and are planted at the same time.
Perhaps the most frequent concern we hear is that the stand of grass is not very thick. Too many people expect the NWSG's to look like a
lawn. Warm season grasses are planted at a relatively low rate per acre and may lie dormant until the conditions are right for it to
germinate. NWSG's tend to grow as a clumps, providing nesting and roosting cover between the clumps of grass. If the cover becomes
too thick, periodic burning is needed to thin the stand, removing old, dead grass and woody plants.
An excellent publication on establishing and maintaining NWSG's can be found at
The second part of our habitat program are food plots. Food plots consist of planting cereal grains beneficial to wildlife, which are left
standing. These include corn, soybeans, sunflowers, milo, millet, wheat and other grain crops.
These food plots help sustain birds and wildlife through the winter months.
These habitat projects can be as large or as small as you wish, but larger contiguous plots benefit wildlife to a greater degree. The
establishment of these plots can be achieved by preparing and planting the area yourself, if you have the time and equipment. Ohio
Pheasants Forever now has a habitat team that can assist you and they can be contacted at
Butler County Pheasants can also help you with your habitat projects in Butler, Preble and Montgomery counties in Ohio. We are the local
administrators for the new Bobwhite Quail Initiative CP-33 and planted, or assisted with planting, 490 acres in 2005 alone. A summary of
this program can be found at
Additional information on wildlife habitat and conservation practices can be obtained through the Butler County Soil and Water
Conservation District, Ohio Division of Wildlife, and the US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
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