Thursday, April 9, 2009

Restoration at the Beanery: Us vs. Phragmites and Porcelain Berry

Last Friday, NJAS/CMBO volunteers and staff continued an ongoing habitat improvement project at the Rea Farm/Beanery by native planting trees and shrubs and removing porcelain berry and phragmites from a heavily infested section. The birding at one of Cape May's favorite spots (where the birding privileges are leased by NJAS for the benefit of our members and friends) will get a little better. There's now a new path on the edge of the woods, just please be mindful of walking in the newly planted areas.

[The "before" picture above, taken July 21, 2006, displays an area dominated by phragmites reed and choked by a dense growth of porcelain berry, both exotic invasive species. One of the Beanery's Prothonotary Warbler spots is in the wet woods to the left of where the maple tree is.]

[Above, another "before" view.]

[Above, after the work on Friday, April 3 2009. The phragmites had been sprayed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program (a program to help private landowners) last year and mowed by landowner Les Rea. Much of the porcelain berry was also sprayed and removed. The new path runs along the edge of the woods left of the maple in this view, should be a good spot to look for Prothonotary Warbler, hummingbird and the like this spring and summer.]

[Another view. Using funding from NJDEP's Landowner Incentive Program, we were able to replant close to 300 native trees and shrubs (marked by flags), including silky dogwood, green ash, winterberry holly, bayberry, American sycamore, pin oak, swamp white oak, and black cherry. A follow-up planting will add black gum and black willow. The field beyond, the first big field encountered when crossing through the Beanery's gate, was planted with two kinds of native gamma grasses, side oats and eastern, in June 2006.]

NJAS Conservation Department staff made these projects happen. Special thanks are due to volunteers Janet Crawford, Michael O'Brien, and Louise Zemaitis for their help, as well as to Les Rea for his help and interest in improving the habitat on his farm.

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