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Resource Management

Forest

Riparian

Riparian zones along with their associated water bodies, including wetlands, are managed as one unit within a watershed. Riparian zones are complicated because they encompass many habitats: wetlands, shrublands and forests creating a fragile ecosystem with microclimates. Wetlands associated with the refuge’s riparian ecosystems include open water, beaver ponds, marsh, shrub swamps, wet meadows, and bottomland hardwood swamps.

Wetlands

The Sugar Lake Division has 16 freshwater impoundments that range in size from 1 to 175 acres. Impoundments were created as moist soil units to benefit wetland dependent species, by mimicking a natural wetland cycle. Active management includes manipulation of the water levels in the impoundments through drawdowns in the late-spring to early-summer (promoting the growth of vegetation used for food and shelter) and flooding in the fall or spring.  

Shrublands

Shrublands can be found in wet or dry areas of the refuge.  

 

These are important habitats for American Woodcock and Blue-winged warbler. Left alone, shrublands will eventually become forests. To keep habitat as shrublands they need to be disturbed through activities such as mowing, selective cutting of trees, and the application of herbicides.  

Forests

The refuge’s forested areas are found along creeks and rivers as well as in upland areas. These forested areas are important for priority migratory birds including wood duck, Canada warbler, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, and cerulean warblers. Forests are left “messy” by design. Downed limbs and dead snags are left alone to provide cover and nesting sites for birds. Approximately 85 species of North American birds are known to use snags for nesting, roosting, perching and other activities. Occasionally trees may be removed to open the canopy and invasive species including bush honeysuckles, garlic mustard, and multiflora rose are removed.
Last Updated: Feb 11, 2013
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