Thursday, November 4, 2010

Habitat Restoration

Earlier this week I was able to observe a habitat restoration project implementation on a property in west-central Goshen Township.  The project was sponsored by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and centered on two goals for improving the existing forest and wetland ecosystem on the property.  First, a field and small plot of forest were selectively cleared to remove invasive vegetative growth, particulary autumn olive and multiflora rose.  Second, several vernal pool habitats were created in a moist field bottom below the woodland area with the goal of increasing amphibian and reptile population diversity in the habitat.

A restored field habitat.  Invasive growth was mechanically removed
leaving native hardwood saplings (a mix of oak species with white ash,
black gum and tulip poplar).  This makes great habitat for certain
neo-tropical migrant birds like the yellow breasted chat and common
yellow throat warblers. 

A view from the top of the same field.  Spring seeps in the field
were identified and left undisturbed (note the cattail growth in the

The property owner informaed me that many years ago this was
a thriving small pond that filled in with sediment over time.
The habitat was excavated with hopes that it will fill over the winter. 

A smaller vernal pool was constructed behind the pond above.
The shallower habitat will support different species than the
deeper pond shown above.

In the lower portion of the field a second pool was constructed
that was a bit shallower than the reconstructed pond at the edge of
the woods.  The hope is to attract migrant amphibians like spotted
and jeffersons salamanders as well as numerous frog and toad

The skid-steer attachment used to clear invasive brush from the
field.  Repeated clearings will have to be implemented over the next
few years to be effective in allowing native foliage to take back the

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