Voluntown/North Stonington
Habit Improvement Projects

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Project Report
by Ray Thiel
Updated - 8/26/2013


Over the winter, Club members expanded the work performed as part of the WHIP project last Fall by cleaning the vines, dead branches and hardwood trees out from the rows of pines near the parking area (Area 4b). A work party finally finished that work on March 23rd. The area is now clean enough to mow and will be able to be maintained so that the invasive plants that were there before the work started won’t come back.

Work being performed by our WHIP contractor (TR Landscaping) during this phase of the project is complete. Area 4a which was a hedgerow in the between the fields just west of the pines that we cleaned up has been cleared except for native blueberry bushes and evergreens, and brush piles that provide cover for the rabbits have been built. This work has been inspected and approved by the NRCS.

Over 400 native shrubs have been planted in this area. The shrubs have been mulched and the shrubs that are prone to deer browsing have been protected inside fenced in enclosures. This project required nearly 250 hours of work by Club members and was completed on June 20, 2013.

Work in the area north of the parking lot, commonly known as “the circle” is finished. It has been inspected and approved by the NRCS. The mature forest areas west and north of the road have been cleared and brush piles were built. These are Areas 1a and 1b on our project map. Because this area had such a thick canopy, there was very little underbrush in this area. Now that it will be mostly open, the native brush will fill back in providing good cover for the rabbits, browse for the deer, and good cover for the pheasants. Other non-game species will also benefit from the changes made in this area.

The final portion of the WHIP project finished this spring was creating a 5 acre clearing toward the western boundary of the property along the Blue Trail. This is area 3 on our project map. The work in this area is similar to that completed in areas 1a and 1b. The area has been cleared and brush piles have been built. An added benefit of this work is that there is a decent logging road to the back of the property providing improved access for hunters.

The DEEP funded LIP project that involves re-claiming the fields behind the pond has been completed. The same contractor we choose for our WHIP work was hired by the state for the LIP work as well. All woody plants that are larger than 2 inches in diameter have been removed from the fields. Most of the large trees have been felled and the logs have been removed. All of the smaller trees have also been removed. Large brush piles have been built in the fields and brush has been windrowed along the stonewalls and along the wetland edges. The LIP project emphasized the need to maintain as much of the existing brushy cover as possible, although we will be planting native grass in areas where the ground has been disturbed by the heavy machinery used for this project. These three small fields are now one large open area that is much better habitat for New England cottontails and all the other wildlife species that prefer brushy cover and fresh growth for browse.

Photographs showing the progress of both projects are available by clicking the appropriate "play" button below. Address any questions concerning either of these programs to Ray Thiel at prma1@comcast.net.


Landowner Incentive Program

WHIP Areas 1a and b


WHIP Area 3


WHIP Area 4a