The Northwestern CT Sportsman’s Association owns 140 acres in the Northwest Corner of our state. We were able to secure a grant from U.S. Fish & Wildlife to create a 7-acre clear cut for the purpose of developing an early successional habitat area on the association’s property. The purpose of this project was to add habitat diversity to the association’s older growth habitat and wetlands areas in order to attract and enhance wildlife, (woodcock, ruffed grouse & song birds, etc) that use this type of habitat.
The project was overseen by CT D.E.P. biologist Peter Piccone & Coverts Coordinator & association President, Jason Marshall.
Mr. Picone was in charge of putting the job out to bid and handling grant monies to be dispersed. Mr. Marshall coordinated with the site contractor.
Supreme Forrest Products of Harwinton, CT was the contractor chosen to do the heavy work of tree cutting and removal using state of the art high capacity, low impact logging equipment.
The project took two years to complete because of wet soil conditions. The cutting and removal of trees was finished last summer. The requirements for the site were to remove all trees larger than 2” diameter. Some standing dead trees were left for use as wildlife nesting sites. Some logs were left on site, and stumps left about two feet high to serve as drumming sites for ruffed grouse.
Once completed, the 7-acre site and associated logging trails were left to grow up naturally. Some plantings of native berry producing shrubs & native grass seeds were done by association volunteers. All of the old and new cuttings, as well as the managed trail system combine to form a wildlife habitat that will be attractive to a wide diversity of species.
Long term goals: The association plans to continuously monitor the site and to use it as an outdoor classroom to use as an example of good forest management and to encourage land owners to do the same kind of habitat projects on their own sites. We also hope to host future tours for the UCONN extension classes or COVERTS seminars on the site.