[CT Birds] State park habitat management

Boletebill boletebill at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 11 13:53:27 EST 2009

Re Hammonassett habitat management... 
... and State Parks in general there are always a lot of different players involved with different goals. I don't know this for sure but my guess is that Hammonassett has a management plan that is mostly a maintenance plan and a development plan. As far as habitat management I think part of that falls to US Fish and Wildlife (ditching, phragmites, restoring fore-dunes and tidal flows)and part of that falls to the Maintenance Dept. of the Park at the suggestion of Friends of Hammonassett and the Nature Center's staff(removal of invasives, butterfly garden,mowing schedules).  Menunckatuck Audubon has been active  for decades in suggesting and advocating for habitat enchancement at Hammo. 
The Park's biggest priorities, that I can see, are the management of beach-goers and campers. Satisfying these concerns seem to be the first priority.  After almost 10 years of prodding the Park has FINALLY started to leave at least some of the grass areas of the park un-mown at least part of the year and that's a step in the right direction. Also.....
Many of the conifers that have been removed from the Middle Beach construction area that Nick B mentioned are NON-NATIVE trees, either Scots Pine or Japanese Black Pine (I forget which) but I don't know if that fact played into the decision making process or the vegetation was removed simply for the convenience of construction(which is usually the case).  I have to say that the fore-dune restoration at Hammonassett (beach grass, beach pea, beach plum, seaside goldenrod, bayberry, seaside rocket and the non-native seaside rose) is fantastic and a 100% improvement over the way the beaches looked 10-15 years ago.
In many ways Hammonassett has made great strides in habitat improvement but there's always room for improvement and there's always the reality that the squeaky wheel gets the oil... so maybe one of our jobs is to be that squeaky wheel making ourselves heard on the behalf of habitat enhancement.
Personally I'd love to see native Pitch Pine restored to the Park, especially where the non-native conifers are dying or have been removed.
That's my $.02.
Bill Yule

"For those who hunger after the earthly excrescences called mushrooms."

--- On Wed, 12/9/09, Steve Morytko <smorytko at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Steve Morytko <smorytko at yahoo.com>
Subject: [CT Birds] State park habitat management
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 8:40 PM

I vaguely remember our governor promising to create a "conservation corp" (or something like that) to help "manage" our parks and forests. I remember wondering to myself who might be supervising those activities. Certainly there are some great opportunities including invasive plant removal which has been mentioned here. It might be worthwhile to ask the respective park supervisors exactly what's happening - they should know.

You might also ask if they have a park management plan and you could ask to see it. If they don't have one (I sure hope they do) then you can expect random acts of "management". While we (birders) recognize state parks as important conservation areas, that's not the only reason they exist. However, one hopes the park management is also keenly tuned into their important conservation areas. But don't take that for granted, you might have to help enlighten them in a rational and respectful manner.

 Steve Morytko
288 Varga Rd.
Ashford, CT 06278 USA
smorytko at yahoo.com
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