Orland Tract Perimeter 506 Ecological Restoration

The goals of this 250 acre restoration project were to increase savannah woodland edge habitat through the thinning/clear cutting of extensive low quality woodland areas, dormant planting of local native seed, herbaceous plug planting, and intensive invasive species control measures.  The end result was to be a mix of savannah, short shrub, dense shrub and open space populated with native species.

Initial clearing started in December2011 by removing large areas of degraded woods and continued through fall of the 2012. This was accomplished using fellerbunchers, fecon mowers, and hauling equipment.  The mountains of trees and shrubs that were removed were either chipped and hauled off site or burned in brush piles throughout the site.

Initial herbicide treatments and plugging began spring of 2012, installing over 8,000 plugs and treating the entire 250 acres for invasive species.  Plug planning locations were specifically chosen to match the species being installed.  Invasive species treated include Reed canary grass,sweetclover, thistle, purple loosestrife, birdfoot trefoil, cattails, phragmites, buckthorn, honeysuckle, black locust, and multiflora rose.  Many native woody species were also treated in designated areas to create open pockets mixed in throughout the site.

No broadcast methods were used during the invasive treatments.  Wicking packs were used to treat cattails and phragmites.  Backpack sprayers were used to treat remaining species using Element 3A, Aquaneat, Crossbow, and Milestone as needed, to selectively treat the invasive species populations while protecting the establishing native community.  All treatments were timed in conjunction with the seasonal and flowering morphology of the target species as well as with other management practices such as mowing and mechanical removals to optimize the effectiveness of the treatments, reduce the likelihood of invasive reproduction, and to protect native communities.

In the winter of the 2013, 1500lbs of conservative native seed, primarily forbs, was broadcast over the 200 acre planting area during dormant conditions in three planting zones: Marsh, Wet Shrubland, and MesicShrubland.    Seed was distributed using truax broadcast seeders and native seed drills which were modified to broadcast rather than plant in furrows.  Areas too sensitive for tractor use and seeds too large to be run through a mechanized seeder were selectively hand broadcast.

Herbicide treatments to invasives continued through the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons resulting in invasive species coverage less that 3% by the end of the third year.   Native plant cover was greatly increased throughout the site achieving the goals of the project.   Mowing was used in specific areas to reduce the height of native shrub species to increase diversity in the woody cover of the project.  The site is currently inhabited by many species of plants and wildlife endemic to a mixed shrubland and oak savannah habitat.