SportDOG grant will help restore wildlife habitats at Salamonie Lake

Salamonie Lake will use a $5,000 grant from SportDOG Brand to buy a piece of equipment to help the property restore habitats.

Salamonie will use the grant, combined with funds from the property, to buy a compact track loader with a tree mulcher attachment. The machine will clear small trees and restore grassland and shrubland habitat to increase hunting opportunities and wildlife diversity.

The machine will primarily be used to restore and maintain grassland-priority areas and woodcock-management areas at Salamonie.

Game species such as cottontail rabbit, bobwhite quail, American woodcock, Eastern wild turkey, white-tailed deer and grassland-nesting waterfowl will benefit from the machine, explains Salamonie wildlife specialist Justin Harrington.

Restoring grassland and shrubland habitats on the lake will also benefit species of greatest conservation need such as Henslow's sparrow, northern harrier and eastern box turtle.

The tree mulcher will also be used to eradicate invasive trees and shrubs such as black locust, bush honeysuckle and autumn olive.

Previously, the property had used chainsaws and mowers to manage habitat succession, Harrington said. 
"This will really speed up our restoration efforts and increase safety for our personnel, which is why we're grateful to receive grant funds to help with the purchase," Harrington says.

SportDOG Brand manufactures gear for hunting dogs, ranging from collars that use GPS tracking to whistles and other training accessories. Multiple grants are awarded each year through the SportDOG Brand Conservation Fund to support habitat-enhancement initiatives throughout the nation.