By Beth Sullivan
While we wait for the snow to melt, we keep busy with planning: planning for stewardship efforts, restorations, outreach, education, and some fun.
We will wait for the snow to melt so we can rake and clean a couple of acres on Knox preserve. These areas were invasive mounds only 3 years ago. After massive efforts from many fronts, we are ready to try re-establishing native grasses. We will remove rocks and stumps, prep the soil and with help from the DEEP, do the seeding in late April or May. The goal is to have the native grasses grow in to cover the soil, and in turn that will deter seeds of invasives that may be in the soil from sprouting and growing. It will take work and diligence to tend these areas but it will be a great leap towards our goal for restoring native plants to support wildlife here.
|Areas cleared of invasive species will be seeded with native grasses.
|Trinity College scientists will continue their studies on Knox Preserve.
Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant
We are also planning the restoration of Dodge Paddock and Beal Preserve. The Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant was awarded to the Mystic Aquarium last November, and since that time, we have been meeting and planning. We are at the point where we are understand the challenges of the site, and have formulated lists of plants that can adapt to the difficult and changeable conditions. Salt water, fresh water, hot sun, and strong winds always change. This project will ultimately demonstrate adaptability to the inevitable changes for this preserve in the near future
|Areas now free of Phragmities and standing water will be restored on Dodge Paddock. Photograph by Roger Wolfe.
We will be planning with teams of scientists who are also waiting for the snow to melt. Some will be waiting to get soil samples, and some to measure plant growth. Our friend the entomologist will be back on Perry Natural Area to resume his study of wood eating beetles, and he will expand his study into Hoffman preserve. The scientists at Sacred Heart University will be getting materials ready for the return of the Horseshoe crabs to nesting sites, and those of us who have been tagging them over the years will get out the waders and kayaks and hope the water warms up for our efforts in the next months.
|Beetle traps on Perry will yield new data.
Sandy Point protection
The USFWS will be gearing up to begin their monitoring of Sandy Point . The shore birds will be arriving, and we will hope they have better protection for their nesting efforts.
|We hope the new USFWS stewards on Sandy Point will protect vulnerable nests.
We have permits in place to build and erect new osprey platforms on Cottrell Marsh and Woolworth Porter Marsh. Meanwhile we scan the skies as the osprey themselves are due to arrive in the next week or two.
|This nest awaits the return of ospreys.
The Conn College students from the Goodwin Niering Center for the Environment have chosen their projects and are doing their planning now. This year most of them will be concentrating on outreach, public relations, and social media efforts. You will be hearing from them soon.
|A team of students will investigate the history of the stone bridges on Pequotsepos Brook Preserve.
Good thing they did not choose stewardship projects this semester. We still can’t see the ground!
Photographs by Beth Sullivan unless otherwise indicated.