Commons Ford Update: December, 2011

Hello all,

A quick update regarding the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Project. We continue to follow our restoration plan.

1. Small Mesquite Removal. The small mesquite removal conducted by PARD staff has been very successful. If you visit Commons Ford, you can now begin to envision how the prairie will look.

2. Treatment for Removal of Invasives. Plateau Land and Wildlife Management is completing its second treatment within the next few days. The assessment following the first treatment was that it was very effective. The drought, while clearly unfortunately, may have assisted us in our efforts to knock back the invasives. You cannot find much green within the 40 acres.

3. Bird and Plant Surveys. We will be scheduling our second annual prairie bird surveys to take place in January. Our project intern, Andrea Julian, is working with other volunteers to conduct another round of plant surveys on the site in early spring 2012. We will have a call for volunteers when the plant surveys are scheduled. For the birding surveys, see below.

4. Next Steps.

(a) Surveys. Within the next 60 days, PARD staff, with the assistance of outside consultants, will prepare the tract for planting. This process involves some tilling and disking to allow for the best seed to soil contact.

(b) Seed Mixes/Seed Purchase. We continue to review and modify our proposed initial seed mix for the tract. Once finalized, we expect to purchase seed by late winter.

(c) Planting. We expect to begin planting immediately following seed purchase (late-winter/early-spring 2012).

5. Volunteers. We could use some volunteers to assist with the winter birding surveys. First survey tentatively scheduled for January 7. These surveys are really quite funny to watch (and conduct) since they involve dragging poles across three 100 meter transects. Since the field is very open now with the removal of the small mesquite, the surveys will go very quickly. Each survey should last no more than one hour and will be conducted in the mornings. Please contact me for further details.

Thanks for your continuing support of this important restoration project.

– Ed Fair

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