New York Field Office
Northeast Region

Grassland Restorations

Grasslands are another type of habitat that is disappearing across New York. Grasslands provide habitat for many different species of wildlife. Most notably, recent studies have shown that grassland nesting birds are declining in numbers. One factor contributing to this decline is the loss of suitable habitat. Partners for Fish and Wildlife has been restoring grasslands across New York with great success. After grassland restoration projects are complete, many landowners have witnessed the return of species they have not seen for many years. The program works, and it will continue to work with the enrollment of private landowners into the program.

The grassland program focuses on two types of restoration activities. Mowing seems to be the most popular, cost-effective method of restoring grasslands. Mowing is completed on sites that have reverted back to early stages of brush and forest.  Typically, mowing is completed with the use of a tractor and "brush-hog" type mower if woody vegetation has a small diameter, and the vegetation is not dense.  For sites with larger brush and trees, a Hydo-Ax with a rotary-ax machine is used.

photo of a tractor and rotary motor in a field
Mowing small brush is accomplished with a tractor and rotary mower.
photo showing the hydro-ax in tall vegetation
Large brush and trees require the
specialized Hydro-Ax.

The second method of grassland restoration involves seeding areas with a mix of native grasses and forbs:

photo of the truax seed drill
Truax seed drill is used for planting native grasses.
little bluestem photo
switchgrass photo

Two species of native warm season grasses: Little bluestem (above left) and switchgrass (above right)


National Partners for Fish and Wildlife Site
Region 5 Partners for Fish and Wildlife Site

Logo for Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Partners for Fish & Wildlife








Last updated: March 4, 2016
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.