Shrubland Management at The Narrows Wildlife Management Area

Brontosaurus work was completed in early March thanks to Habitat Stamp funding

Hidden in the southwestern part of the Champlain Valley, The Narrows Wildlife Management Area (WMA), it is near the portion of the lake known as  “The Narrows”, where the Lake is at its narrowest width and bordered by cliffs on both the Vermont and New York sides. The WMA supports a variety of rare, threatened and endangered species.

In the eastern portion of the WMA, there are two small shrublands that have supported priority shrubland species. These include Blue-Winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and Field Sparrow. One of the shrublands had become too overgrown and infested with invasive shrubs such as honeysuckle and buckthorn to support some of these species in recent years, and the other was beginning to become overrun with invasive shrubs.

Snowy field showing sparse shrubs and trees
Post-management at The Narrows Photo: Margaret Fowle/Audubon Vermont

We worked with Luke Groff and Andrea Shortsleeve at the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife to secure Habitat Stamp Funds to hire Casela Construction to bring in a brontosaurus and grind up the invasives, tall and overgrown pine trees, and some of the hardwood trees. This opening of the habitat will allow the native shrubs such as dogwoods, viburnums, and prickly ash to become more dominant. 

image of a yellow brontosaurus machine with a fecon head grinding invasives in a shrubland
The brontosaurus at work at The Narrows Photo: Margaret Fowle/Audubon Vermont

We will monitor the regrowth of the invasives to see if there are any areas that will need retreatment in the next couple of years, and we plan to monitor the area to see how priority species respond to the management activities.

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