Habitat Restoration Initiatives
It is important to preserve habitats, and in some instances restore them after damage from development, conventional agricultural practices, pollution and encroachment. We are working to restore and maintain habitats at many of our conservation areas. The following are brief glimpses at some of the work being done at our sites.
We began seeding several acres of meadows in native wildflowers and grasses in 2022. This is an ongoing project with many acres to go.
Wetlands are facing significant encroachment from invasive species such as phragmites. We are active in removing these species with the help of volunteers. Phragmites are one of the fastest growing and most difficult invasive plants to get rid of. We anticipate this project to be one we will be working on for generations.
Onondaga County Soil & Water staff have been treating our hemlock trees at High Hickory Wildlife Sanctuary for the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Their important work is the only real defense we have at this time against this non-native pest. Research is being conducted through Cornell University on predators, parasitoids, and pathogens to manage HWA population in the future.
HWA is an invasive, aphid-like insect that attacks North American hemlocks. Introduced from Japan in the 1950s through the import of ornamental trees, this pest is quickly decimating hemlock populations and poses a real threat to our ecosystem.
Ruffed Grouse Habitat Restoration
We have been working to restore meadow and mixed woodland habitats for ruffed grouse at our Robert J. Vitkus conservation areas to keep healthy populations of this important native bird. Ruffed grouse are notable for their thrumming noises, which can be easily heard at High Hickory Wildlife Sanctuary.
Fen and Bog Restoration
Fens and bogs are unique wetlands. Home to several threatened and endangered species of plants and animals, they are particularly important habitats. We have sites currently under our protection with populations monitored by dedicated staff and volunteers.