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Habitat Improvements Planned on Conner Farm Wildlife Management Area

Contact:
James Oehler, NH Fish and Game: (603) 271-0453
Scott Rolfe, NH Division of Forests and Lands: (603) 227-8741

June 22, 2017

EXETER, NH -- A timber harvest is being planned to improve wildlife habitat on the 250-acre Conner Farm Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Exeter.  The NH Fish and Game Department, in collaboration with the NH Division of Forests and Lands, will be conducting the harvest either this winter, or a subsequent winter when the ground is suitably frozen. Patches of trees one-fourth to two acres in size will be harvested, increasing the amount of sunlight hitting the forest floor and thereby sparking the growth of the next generation of forest.

 

The increased food and cover that will result will benefit wild turkey, deer and a variety of songbirds, such as veery.  Some patches will be deliberately placed adjacent to fields, which will help to feather field edges and enhance habitat for American woodcock and perhaps other types of songbirds that rely on shrubland and young forest habitat, such as chestnut-sided warbler.

 

"The primary goal on Wildlife Management Areas is to maintain and enhance habitat for a variety of wildlife," said Jim Oehler a habitat biologist for Fish and Game.  "A well-planned and executed timber harvest is an excellent means of doing that."

 

Invasive exotic plant control will occur later in July and August in preparation for the harvest.  There are a number of invasive exotic plants on the property that can negatively impact habitat, including glossy buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, and Asiatic bittersweet, among others. Glossy buckthorn, in particular, is an aggressive competitor along field edges and woodland openings that inhibits native trees like pine and oak.  To deter further invasion of the property, scattered seedlings within the patches will be hand-pulled by volunteers in late June or July, while mature fruit-bearing plants along field edges will be treated with herbicides in August.  Only the invasive exotic plants will be targeted during this treatment.

 

All of the work planned on Conner Farm WMA was thoroughly reviewed by the NH Natural Heritage Bureau, NH Division of Historic Resources, and NH Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program to ensure no impacts to other important resources.

 

This and other habitat improvement projects on Fish and Game's Wildlife Management Areas are financially supported in large part by a Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) grant administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  WSFR funding is derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition, as well as sportfishing tackle.

 

For more information about this project or to volunteer to help with invasive plant control, contact NH Fish and Game Biologist James Oehler at (603) 271-0453 or james.oehler@wildlife.nh.gov, or NH Division of Forests and Lands Regional Forester Scott Rolfe at (603) 227-8741 or Scott.Rolfe@dred.nh.gov.

 

A part of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, the Division of Forests and Lands protects and promotes the values provided by trees, forests and natural communities. For more information about the NH Division of Forests and Lands, visit www.nhdfl.org.

 

The NH Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.  Visit www.wildnh.com/habitat.

 

 


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