Meet Joe Krystofik, Fish and Wildlife State Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Field Office.

Joe has been instrumental in providing guidance and funding for SFNC’s recent Glade Restoration Project and our Monarch Butterfly Habitat restoration program. We are thankful for his expertise and never-ending support of SFNC.

The Southeast Region Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in improving habitat for migratory birds, endangered, threatened and at-risk species. They particularly emphasize projects with the potential to provide habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species. The “Partners” program is helping SFNC in their forest enhancement through mid-story management and prescribed burning.

According to the SFNC Woodlands Restoration Plan,

“The expected benefit to Federal Trust Species is to improve habitat conditions for the Northern long-eared bat, which is listed as a threatened species, several at-risk species including Monarch butterfly and Texas Frosted Elfin, as well as the species of greatest conservation need identified in the Arkansas Wildlife Action Plan: Bewick’s Wren, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Slender Glass Lizard.”

Tree stand management is the latest development in our SFNC Woodland Restoration Plan. The Foothills Master Naturalists (FAMNs) and Clint Johnson with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have worked hard keeping our trails and structures cleared of leaves, as these trails will serve as fire lines for the prescribed burns scheduled at SFNC. An attempt to burn was made in early November but was unsuccessful. The TNC Burn Team will try again when all the conditions line up for a perfect prescribed burn. Afterwards, forester Wade Hargrove will supervise a selected commercial harvest to improve the health of our tree stand and open our canopy to improve ground herbaceous growth, which improves the habitat for many native species.

Please stay tuned for our third article about this restoration project. We look forward to reporting on the latest progress.