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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Habitat Restoration Activities Underway at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Region 5, April 15, 2013
Volunteer Kathy Woodward plants red-osier dogwood cuttings as part of a habitat restoration effort at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Volunteer Kathy Woodward plants red-osier dogwood cuttings as part of a habitat restoration effort at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. - Photo Credit: n/a

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge started the 2013 field season with the first of many Habitat Restoration Work Days planned for the year. In March, refuge staff and a group of volunteers from the refuge’s Friends Group planted native shrubs along a wooded stream to replace the invasive Japanese barberry that had been cleared from the understory. Three species of dogwood (red-osier, gray, and silky dogwood), and elderberry were planted from dormant cuttings, taken from other parts of the refuge. Over 150 cuttings were planted, and plans are to add a variety of native shrubs (i.e., spicebush, witch hazel, bayberry, winterberry, and buttonbush) to the area by Arbor Day. The goal is to replace the invasive barberry with a diversity of native shrubs that flower and fruit throughout the growing season. Ultimately the plants will form dense thickets, providing food and cover for many species of wildlife that rely on early successional habitats. In addition to shrub plantings, other activities planned for the season include planting native trees (red oak and white pine) at a few of the refuge’s many reclaimed homestead sites, monitoring new plantings for deer browse (and protecting plants if necessary), conducting additional invasive plant control throughout the refuge, and mapping and creating photo points of restored habitats. Much of the work will be carried out with the assistance of two summer Habitat Restoration and Invasive Plant Interns who have been generously funded by the refuge’s Friends Group.

Contact Info: Steve Henry, 973-425-1222 x-157, steven_s_henry@fws.gov