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01-16-2008, 09:20 PM
NWTF Aids Wildfire-Ravaged Georgia Forests

1/15/08

Waycross, GeorgiaŚ The National Wild Turkey Federation's Georgia state chapter, in cooperation with its partners, has announced a Wildfire Relief Fund for forest restoration in Southeast Georgia.

Georgia's unprecedented drought in 2007 led to an onslaught of wildfires. The subsequent damage scorched a total of 462,753 acres across a 21-county area of Southeast Georgia, with 30,921 of those acres consisting of private family lands.

The Fund, which consists of private donations, will provide financial assistance for forest restoration to family forest owners who were affected by Georgia's 2007 wildfire season. Once funds have been received, the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) will notify affected family forest owners and give them the opportunity to apply for incentive payments from the Wildlife Relief Fund to reforest their lands. GFC foresters will review applications, inspect affected lands and reward incentive payments based on need and the amount available in the Fund.

"In addition to providing habitat for wildlife such as the wild turkey, Georgia's forests provide many other benefits such as erosion control, watershed protection and jobs and products from the timber industry," said James Austin, NWTF regional biologist for the state of Georgia. "It is crucial that we help restore these woodlands."

The NWTF's Georgia chapter pledged their support for the Fund and the assistance it will grant to Georgia's wildlife.

"Replenishing these forests benefits our future for generations to come, and the NWTF is proud to be a part of this effort," added Austin.

The other project partners in the Wildfire Relief Fund include the Georgia Forestry Association, Weyerhaeuser, BASF, Georgia Forestry Commission, Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Media Contact:
Brian Dowler at (803) 637-3106 or bdowler@nwtf.net