Agencies Team Up to Create, Maintain Habitat for Moose and Other Wildlife
- ADF&G Press Release

Sam Cotten, Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, Alaska 99811-5526

Press Release: May 5, 2015

Contact: Sue Rodman, Program Coordinator, (907) 317-7236

Agencies Team Up to Create, Maintain Habitat for Moose and Other Wildlife

(Statewide) – In an effort to create and enhance habitat for moose and other wildlife, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is working with local, state and federal partners to conduct prescribed burns and mechanical clearing treatments in locations throughout the state.

Currently, the department and the Division of Forestry (DOF) are planning a prescribed burn in the Matanuska Valley State Moose Range on a 314-acre site located off the Glenn Highway near Sutton. Burn timing is scheduled for Sunday, May 10, but execution will be based on burn conditions and the availability of Forestry staff to monitor the fire. The plan includes burning mature aspen trees to encourage regeneration of these and other hardwoods. The department will provide an update on the planned burn on Friday, May 8.

Fires allow mature forests to be replaced through regeneration of aspen, willow and birch needed by moose, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse and other wildlife for food and cover. Important early successional growth in the moose range is currently being lost to maturing forests.

“In areas where increasing land development is occurring and moose are at high densities, like here in Game Management Unit 14A, it’s not uncommon for their habitat to begin degrading,” said Palmer Area Wildlife Biologist Todd Rinaldi. “By manipulating mature forests in this manner, we create more available browse which should begin to benefit moose within a couple of years, becoming optimal in 10 to 20 years.”

Near Tok, the department is working with DOF and the Ruffed Grouse Society to “roller chop” approximately 200 acres of aspen and spruce that have grown in since the 1990 Tok River wildfire. Aspen regenerated in the wake of that blaze have grown out of reach of moose. A bulldozer pulling a heavy, rolling drum is being used to crush and clear maturing aspen and prompt existing roots to send up “suckers,” a form of regeneration that will create new forage and cover for moose, ruffed grouse, hares and other wildlife dependent on early successional forests.

On the Kenai Peninsula, the department is coordinating with DOF and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to review options for creating fuel breaks. Fuel breaks serve a dual purpose, protecting homes and communities from wildfires while also serving as wildlife habitat.

Although these projects are relatively small in scale, continued efforts to treat portions of the landscape over time will provide a long-term forage base for moose and other wildlife. Meanwhile, more moose habitat enhancement plans are in the works for these and other parts of the state.

Updates on plans for prescribed burns will be forthcoming as specific dates are scheduled. For more information, check, or contact Sue Rodman at (907) 317-7236 or