Caring for Land Trust Properties

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					Caring for Land Trust Properties
     Developing Stewardship Plans

        NJ Land Trust Rally, March 19, 2011

                    Presented by
     Michael Van Clef, Ecological Solutions, LLC
    The Purpose of a Stewardship Plan

• Provide structure to improve the efficiency and
  effectiveness of meeting the conservation mission

• Facilitate communication among staff, board,
  partners and members
                        Sources of Information
•   Site or Project Area Information
     –   Existing surveys of flora and fauna
     –   Site-level land use history
     –   Ecological community and invasive species mapping
     –   Habitat and/or species health field assessments
•   Land Use (i-MapNJ and GIS)
     – Historic (1890 maps and 1930’s aerial photography)
     – Current (2007 LU/LC GIS coverage)
•   Landscape Project and Natural Heritage Program (i-MapNJ and GIS)
     – Habitat Patch Sizes and Ranks (Landscape Project 2.1 or 3.0)
     – Ecological communities, Priority Sites and Grid Data (April 2010)
•   More Information (i-MapNJ, GIS and others)
     –   Important Bird Areas (NJ Audubon)
     –   Geology and soils (NRCS - SSURGO)
     –   Brooklyn Botanic Garden Metro Flora Project (website)
     –   Human population characteristics (US Census website)
     –   Recreational resources (, NY/NJ TC, NJDEP, counties, municipalities)
     –   Cultural and historic resources (NJ National Register website, local groups)
Stewardship Plan Outline

 1.   Introduction
 2.   Conservation Targets
 3.   Challenges
 4.   Strategies and Actions
 5.   Public Use & Programmatic Goals
 Section 1.
    Introduction Components
•     Vision
     – “The vision for the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve is to provide model
       stewardship of biodiversity along with excellent public recreation and
       educational opportunities.”

•     Broad goals (several clear statements)
     1. Create and Implement Community Deer Management Program
     2. Selective Invasive Species Control
     3. Foster Forest Health
     4. Foster Early Successional Communities
     5. Foster Health of Wickecheoke Creek
     6. Enhance Recreational Opportunities and Outreach

•     Context
     - Historic Land Use
     - Landscape Context
            - Current land use, Protected lands
     - Bedrock geology, soil, water, fire history, etc.
     - Social Context
     - Partnerships & Stakeholders
     Section 2.
Conservation Targets
   Conservation Target Types

• Habitats
   – Forest, Woodland, Shrubland, Meadow
• Species
   – Rare and Common
  Conservation Targets - Species

                 2,100 Native Plants
                 62 Land Mammals
                28 Marine Mammals
                     44 Reptiles
                   35 Amphibians
                 85 Freshwater Fish
                   336 Marine Fish
           180 Dragonflies and Damselflies
                    151 Butterflies

…All living on over 2.5 million acres of natural lands…
                                            Conservation Targets - Habitat

                                                                               % of HV
                                                                % of Hopewell  Natural
Description                                               Acres Valley Acres Cover Acres
Upland Habitat Totals                                     14049      36.4       80.1
Coniferous Forest (> 50% canopy) - Upland                  772       2.0         4.4
Deciduous Forest (> 50% canopy) - Upland                  9740       25.2        55.5
Coniferous Woodland (10-50% canopy) - Upland              324        0.8         1.8
Deciduous Woodland (10-50% canopy) - Upland                89        0.2         0.5
Scrub/Shrub (< 10% canopy, > 25% shrub cover) - Upland    2727       7.1         15.6
Meadows (< 25% shrub cover) - Upland                       397       1.0         2.3
Wetland Habitat Totals                                    2782       7.2         15.9
Coniferous Forest (> 50% canopy) - Wetland                 18        0.0         0.1
Deciduous Forest (> 50% canopy) - Wetland                 2319       6.0         13.2
Coniferous Woodland (10-50% canopy) - Wetland               0        0.0         0.0
Deciduous Woodland (10-50% canopy) - Wetland                0        0.0         0.0
Scrub/Shrub (< 10% canopy, > 25% shrub cover) - Wetland    296       0.8         1.7
Meadows (< 25% shrub cover) - Wetland                      149       0.4         0.8
Open Water                                                 704       1.8         4.0
Urban Cover                                               10617      27.5        N/A
Barren Land                                                357       0.9         N/A
Agricultural Cover                                        10101      26.2        N/A
Total Natural Cover Acres                                 17535      45.4
Total Hopewell Valley Acres                               38610
Section 3.

  Mature tulip poplar girdled by Japanese Wisteria
    Threat #1
Habitat Destruction

•   Broad Land Cover Classes
     • 30% developed
     • 15% agricultural
     • 55% natural cover
          • 40% forested

•   Protected Lands
     • Open Space 21%
     • Preserved Farmland 2.5%
     Other Killer Threats

    Habitat Fragmentation
      Overabundant Deer
       Invasive Species
 Agricultural Soil Modifications
     Altered Fire Regimes
     Altered Stream Flows
    Global Climate Change
The statewide deer population is well above historical levels.
                             Why so many deer?

       Excellent                 Insufficient                        Health, Economic,
                       +            deer
                                                         =            and Ecological

  Forest fragmentation      Lack of hunting access and                Lyme Disease
 produces excellent deer     focus on “trophy” bucks.              Deer-Vehicle Collisions
     forage along with       Herd reduction requires a              Agricultural Losses
supplemental feeding from      shift in focus to does.           Landscape Planting Losses
 agriculture and suburbia                                            Degraded Forests

                                                     Forest Fragmentation in Hopewell Valley

                                                     While still containing over 15,000 acres of
                                                     forest habitat (shown in green), forest edges,
                                                     fields and suburban landscapes are numerous
                                                     and serve as more productive deer habitat
                                                     than forest interiors.
                            The Goal?

                         HEALTHY FORESTS!

                  Complete Vertical Structure
                    Advance Regeneration
                      Species Diversity

Diverse herb layer, tree and shrub seedlings, mature shrubs, tree saplings,
                       sub-canopy trees, canopy trees
Native and Non-Native Plants



   Non-Native - Naturalized
   Non-Native - Not self-sustaining
   Native, but not to NJ - Naturalized
   Native, but not to NJ - Not self-sustaining
   Native to New Jersey
         Invasive Species Tallies

                   Plants = 31
                   Animals = 23
                   Plants = 79
                   Animals = 32

Please visit the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team
      Section 4.
Strategies and Actions
Stewardship “Wisdom”

      Mitigation of human
    impacts on natural systems

                  Pushing in the direction of nature’s flow…
                  …within the context of perpetual human influences…
                                     –   Set goals with measurable outcomes

Don’t Panic!!                        –
                                         Careful monitoring
                                         Adaptive management

       – Things you can do something about…
           • Overabundant Deer
           • Invasive Species
           • Fire Suppression

       – Things you can’t do much about…
           •   Habitat Fragmentation
           •   Global Warming
           •   Agricultural Soil Modifications
           •   Altered Stream Flows
Deer Management Programs

 • Visit

 • Require antlerless harvest!
     – One per five acres?
 • Maximize access
 • Minimize restrictions
Hopewell Valley Deer Management Task Force

  For all goals, the recommendation is a 25% reduction by 2013
                   and a 75% reduction by 2019.

            Goal #1: Reduce Lyme Disease Cases
           Goal #2: Reduce Deer Vehicle Collisions
             Goal #3: Reduce Agricultural Losses
          Goal #4: Reduce Landscape Planting Losses
             Goal #5: Reduce Ecological Damage
 Hopewell Valley Deer Management Task Force

Strategy Set #1: Improvement of Hunting Access
    1A) Encourage and facilitate hunting access on public and private lands
    1B) Develop strategies to access “pocket deer” in residential areas

Strategy Set #2: Improvement of Hunting Efficacy
    2A) Encourage and facilitate coordinated hunting activities among neighboring landowners
    2B) Encourage and facilitate use of Agricultural Depredation Permits by farmers
    2C) Encourage and facilitate Deer Management Programs that focus harvests on female deer
    2D) Encourage and facilitate program for venison donation to local food banks
    2E) Consult with the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife and other wildlife professionals to facilitate
    strategies 1A through 2D

Strategy Set #3: Avoidance of Deer Impacts
    3A) Improve awareness of methods that reduce Deer Vehicle Collisions
    3B) Improve awareness of methods that reduce Lyme disease
    3C) Improve awareness of methods that reduce landscape damage
    3D) Discourage the intentional feeding of deer in non-hunting situations
              Monitoring Forest Health

•   The value of an index
     – Create a standardized, objective protocol
     – Reduce the outrageous complexity of natural systems
     – Set clear thresholds to stimulate management decisions

•   Example #1: Sentinel Seedlings
     – Winter/Spring browse pressure
     – Yes/No data collection

•   Example #2: The ‘Forest Secchi’
     – Summer shrub and sapling cover (ca. 1.5 – 4.5 feet above ground)
     – Percentage of a white board visible from a measured distance
                                             Invasive Species
Control      Description                 Pros                           Cons                                                   Notes

Mechanical   Physical removal of all     No requirement for             Very labor intensive, may require specialized          Common techniques include
                    or portions of an           specialized training,          equipment, site accessibility issues,                mowing, cutting,
                    invasive species            can be performed               impractical for large infestations, re-              pulling, girdling. Could
                                                by volunteers                  sprouting may occur                                  also include prescribed

Chemical     Application of              Most effective and             Labor intensive, site accessibility issues, requires   Common applications include
                    herbicides to all           efficient method in            specialized training/license and                     foliar, cut stump, basal
                    or portions of an           most cases, staff              equipment, may require repeated                      bark, and injection
                    invasive species            can be assisted by             applications for more difficult species

Biological   Introduction of a           Dramatic reductions in         Limited number of invasive species have agents,        Requires extensive research to
                    biocontrol agent           abundance with                  potential (usually low) for unintended                 provide effective, host-
                    (e.g. insect) from         minimal costs,                  consequences if the biocontrol agent                   specific agents
                    the invasive               minimal                         ‘switches’ to non-target species
                    species’ native            accessibility issues

Cultural     Removal of invasive         Very cost effective            Applies to a small fraction of infested areas          Generally a subset of
                  species through                                                                                                    mechanical or chemical
                  coincidental                                                                                                       control; Primarily
                  human activities                                                                                                   applies to agricultural
                                                                                                                                     systems, but may apply
                                                                                                                                     to the maintenance of
                                                                                                                                     early successional
                                                                                                                                     natural systems

Ecological   Allowing natural            Very cost effective, allows    May not occur in many systems due to persistent        This can only occur with a
                   ecological                   natural processes to          or continuing human impacts (e.g.                       dramatic reduction of
                   processes (e.g.              ‘balance’                     overabundant deer, continued physical                   deer populations in New
                   competition for                                            disturbance, fragmentation, etc.)                       Jersey. Very strong
                   light and soil                                                                                                     anecdotal evidence
                   resources,                                                                                                         suggests that
                   predator-prey                                                                                                      overabundant deer
                   relationships,                                                                                                     facilitate infestations by
                   etc.) to reduce                                                                                                    Japanese stiltgrass and
                   invasive species                                                                                                   other invasive species in
                   over time                                                                                                          forests.
                                                                              Invasive Species
                                                                                                             LOE (hours) or
                         Goal                                                                                 Contractor    Completion
Goal Category           Number Action             Current Locational Information                             Cost Estimate   Timeline
Eradicate Emerging             Eradicate Japanese
Invasive Species          1A   Aralia             Small population located in Patch # 16 (See Map 12)             10          2011
Eradicate Emerging             Eradicate Chinese
Invasive Species          1B   Silvergrass        Small population located in Patch # 23 (See Map 12)             10          2011
Eradicate Nascent
Populations of                  Eradicate Asiatic    Small population located in Patches # 91, 92, 94 (See
Widespread Species        2A    Bittersweet          Map 18)                                                      10          2011
Eradicate Nascent
Populations of                  Eradicate Winged
Widespread Species        2B    Burning Bush         Small population located in Patch # 49 (See Map 23)          10          2011
                                                     Small population located in Patches # 23, 24. These
Eradicate Nascent                                    areas were covered with soil during the final road
Populations of                  Eradicate Reed       grading, but should be expected to resprout. (See
Widespread Species        2C    Canary Grass         Map 28)                                                      10          2011
Eradicate Nascent
Populations of                  Eradicate Common
Widespread Species        2D    Reed             Small population located in Patch # 14 (See Map 29)              10          2011
Eradicate Nascent
Populations of                  Eradicate Purple
Widespread Species        2E    Loosestrife          Small population located in Patch # 76 (See Map 26)          10          2011
Eradicate Nascent
Populations of                  Eradicate Japanese
                                                                                 Table 9. Annualized Summary of Recommended Goals, LOE and Contractor Costs
Widespread Species        2F    Honeysuckle        Small population located in Patch # 46 (See Map 25)            10          2011
                                                     Located in Patches # 1-4, 6-8, 14-16, 20, 25-26, 29-                                                   LOE Contractor
Control Woody                   Control / Suppress   32, 46-47, 59, 80. LOE based upon 20 hours per year                 2011-2015 and
Species that Threaten           Spreading of
                                                     from 2011-2015 and 5 hours per year from 2016-2020.
                                                                                                                           ongoing as
                                                                                                                                                           Total 1 Cost Total
Restoration Efforts       3A    Autumn Olive         (See Map 22).                                           1A, 150
                                                                                                                 1B,   2A, 2B, 2C,
                                                                                                                           necessary 2D, 2E, 2F, 3A, 3B,
                                                                                                   2011        3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 5A, 6A, 7A, 8A, 8B          285     $15,262
Control Woody                   Control / Suppress Located in Patches # 3-4, 9-10, 14-18, 20-26, 29-30.                 2011-2015 and
Species that Threaten
                                Spreading of Tree-of- LOE based upon 20 hours per year from 2011-2015
                                                                                                                          3C, 4A,
                                                                                                                  3A, 3B, ongoing as 5B, 6A, 7A, 8B        205     $19,976
Restoration Efforts       3B    Heaven                                                          2013
                                                      and 5 hours per year from 2016-2020. (See Map 14).          3A,
                                                                                                                 150 3B, 3C, 4A, 5C, 6A, 7A, 8B
                                                                                                                          necessary                        205     $13,609
                                                                                                2014              3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 5D, 6A, 7A, 8B           205     $7,961
                                                                                                2015              3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 5E, 6A, 7A, 8B           205     $10,437
                                                                                                2016              3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 7A, 8A            55       $0
                                                                                                2017              3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 7A, 8A            55       $0
                                                                                                2018              3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 7A, 8A            55       $0
                                                                                                2019              3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 7A, 8A            55       $0
                                                                                                2020              3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 7A, 8A            55       $0
                                                                                               Totals                                                      1380    $67,245
                                                                                                   LOE consists of staff and volunteer hours.
           Section 5.
Public Use & Programmatic Goals

       1) Recreation
           –   Access essential
           –   Allowances and Prohibitions
       2) Historic and Cultural Resources
           1) “Sense of Place”
           2) Linkage to trails
       3) Agriculture
           –   Organic agriculture
           –   Grassland birds and delayed mowing
           –   Conservation programs
How can we be good stewards
  with limited resources?
   – Planning and Prioritizing: Make the hard decisions

   – Establish organizational support
       • Does management and the board fully support stewardship?
       • Grants and operating budgets

   – Partnerships and Volunteers
       •   Community Deer Management Task Force
       •   Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas – NJ Strike Team
       •   Developing a volunteer core
       •   Communication & collaboration with peers
       •   Communication & collaboration with neighbors

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