Resource Management

Biologist viewing the refuge through binoculars - Ashley Spratt/USFWS.

Habitat Management (general maintenance)

Current area managed for grasslands consists of 142 acres that have been on a three year rotation during the past 5 years such that each field has now received at least one treatment during this time period.

During 2008:

  • Field 1 was scheduled for a prescribed burn (15 acres) to maintain dominance by warm season grasses and reduce the build up of thatch. The burn was accomplished on approximately 12 acres on April 30 between 8-11pm. The west and center portions of the field burned well (12 acres), and the eastern portion was mowed the following week (3 acres).
  • Fields 10 (goose field) and 13 were mowed (22 acres total) and the Meyers easement that was co-operatively planted in WSG was mowed in the fall (25 acres).

Rare Plant Population Monitoring and Management

  • We introduced a population of sandplain gerardia (Agalinis acuta) in the western portion of field one on November 28, 2007.
  • We monitored this population in September 2008 and counted a total of 102 plants. Many of the plants were already senescing, so we suspect the population was larger and we missed the optimum window for conducting the count. None the less, the introduction of seed was successful. The plot is comprised of mostly little bluestem, with goldenrod and Indian grass also present in the site. During the burn this area of the field was avoided and received only a mow treatment.
  • In conjunction with the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) the refuge was surveyed in the summer for hyssop-leaved hedge nettle (Stachys hyssopifolia, State Threatened). We counted approximately 500 Stachys plants in a 40m2 area located in the northern portion of field one. This area has been roped off and the population seems to be increasing.
  • We continue to work closely with the NEWFS, and this year attended the NE Plant Conservation Planning group meeting, to monitor rare plant populations on the refuge on a rotational basis and input the findings into the online database maintained by NEWFS.
  • A complete survey of the Trustom pond shore was conducted during the summer as part of the TP Ecology project. Several state listed plants were identified and mapped.

Invasive Plant Management

  • Black swallowwort was hand pulled for two weeks before it could set seed, then cut as it began to go to seed, and when checked late in the season had leafed out again, so an herbicide was applied to the re-growth (2% Garlon). The largest patch was in the center of Field 1, although it was also detected along the farm field loop in the SW and NE.
  • The area that was hydro-axed during January 2007, was treated with herbicide (stumps of invasives only) during that winter and then during the growing season of 2007 a foliar spray was applied (non-native invasive only) by contractors (Vegetation Control Services - VCS). During FY08, VCS returned to cut and treat vines, applying 3.25 gallons of mix on Dec. 5 and Feb. 28. The area is full of grasses and wildflowers, but has not had as much regeneration of native shrubs as I had hoped. We did not have the staff necessary to follow up with any treatments in the summer of 2008, although there are still some invasive species in the site. It will be important that the site is monitored annually and it remains a priority to prevent invasion of this site until it has filled in with native shrubs.