Habitat Projects

Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area, Southern New Hampshire

A Host of Techniques for Making Young Forest

Machines clanking through fields, planting shrub seeds. Log skidders piling newly cut trees at a landing. Industrial-strength mowers chopping down old, past-their-prime shrubs so they’ll grow back as thick cover. Conservationists are using all of these techniques and more to turn Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area into a habitat showcase for young-forest wildlife, including the New England cottontail, a rare regional rabbit.

Albany Pine Bush, Hudson River Valley, New York

An Urban Oasis for Wildlife and People

Albany Pine Bush Preserve protects a pitch-pine scrub-oak barrens a scant six miles from New York’s capitol building. At the preserve’s south end Interstate 87, the Adirondack Northway, meets I-90, the New York State Thruway. Parts of the preserve abut the Albany landfill and the sprawling development of the town of Colonie.

Bald Eagle State Park, Central Pennsylvania

Helping Warblers and Woodcock (and Other Wildlife, Too)

At this Pennsylvania park, 5,900 acres of land surround a large flood-control lake. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bought the acreage in 1965, most of it was farmland. Since then, the fields have grown up in brush and forest. Today Bald Eagle is a popular destination for birders, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts. To keep the park wildlife-friendly, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – along with several other agencies and organizations – are creating young forest habitat while promoting scientific research.

Georges Valley Cooperative Project, Central Pennsylvania

Landowners Team Up in a Keystone State Watershed

What happens when a bunch of landowners decide to help the American woodcock, a bird whose numbers have fallen as its young-forest habitat has dwindled? Add a local conservation group and a university-based watershed center, and good things can happen fast. In central Pennsylvania, this sort of team approach may provide a blueprint for similar projects throughout the East.

Camp Edwards, Upper Cape Cod, Massachusetts

"Scrub oak is a resilient plant," says John Kelly, a biologist with the U.S. Army at Camp Edwards, a 14,000-acre National Guard training center 50 miles southeast of Boston. Scrub oak provides habitat for a wide range of young-forest creatures. And Camp Edwards may support the largest remaining population of brush-loving New England cottontails anywhere in the species' range.

Cottontail Farm, Eastern Connecticut

Legacy Project on a Family Farm

The small tracked machine rumbled up to a clump of autumn olive 15 feet broad and 10 feet tall – one of many non-native shrubs that had invaded an old pasture on the aptly named Cottontail Farm near Scotland, Connecticut. It was a misty morning in May, and songbirds called from fencerows and hedges. The autumn olive looked dense and bushy, but it wouldn't be that way after leaf-fall and in the winter, because it was old, open-grown and straggling.

Navarino Wildlife Area, Shawano and Waupaca Counties, Wisconsin

About Navarino Wildlife Area

Navarino Wildlife Area lies 30 miles west of Green Bay where prairie and agricultural land meet northern forest. The 15,000-acre area has sandy uplands and ridges with intervening marshy depressions. The West Branch of the Shioc River and the Wolf River run through the tract. Fifteen dikes impound water on 1,400 acres, creating open water areas fringed with wetlands.

Ackley Demonstration Area, Langlade and Marathon Counties, Wisconsin

About Ackley Demonstration Area

The Langlade and Marathon County Forests lie in rolling to hilly terrain in northern Wisconsin. Langlade County Forest totals 130,003 acres; Marathon County Forest is 28,623 acres. The Ackley Demonstration Area includes part of both of these forests, as well as the Ackley State Wildlife Area.

Lake Tomahawk Demonstration Area, Oneida County, Wisconsin

About Lake Tomahawk Demonstration Area

This demonstration area is part of the Northern Highland-American Legion (NH-AL) State Forest, at 236,575 acres the largest state forest in Wisconsin. Established in 1925, the forest protects the headwaters of the Wisconsin, Flambeau, and Manitowish rivers in the northern part of the state. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages the land.