Trout Unlimited Canada Prince County Chapter
Wildlife Habitat Enhancement and Demonstration Site, Portage PEI
This project built on the inventory and access groundwork completed in 2015 by creating and implementing a habitat and wildlife management plan. Implementation of this plan has direct benefits to native wildlife, particularly songbirds, Ruffed Grouse and snowshoe hare. It has further indirect benefits through creation of small-scale demonstrations of techniques private landowners can use to extract wood and enhance wildlife habitat, and creation of opportunities for upland and waterfowl hunting.
The project goals revisited:
The overall goal of this project is to create a wildlife and habitat enhancement demonstration site at Portage, PEI. Specific steps contributing to this goal in Phase 2 of the project were:
- Create a property management plan. A management plan was created that proposes treatments to enhance habitat for a range of species, but particularly songbirds, Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock, and Little Brown Bat. The original work on the property done in the mid-1990s divided the woodlot into small management blocks (roughly ¼ hectare each) regardless of the forest cover or site type. The new plan takes a more ecological approach, grouping forest stands into four distinct categories: Forest Wetland, Black Spruce Forest, Mixed Woods and Blueberry Barrens.
- Implement property management plan. The focus of 2016 was in trail maintenance, planting and addition of large woody debris. Ensuring that trails were open and accessible was integral to use of the natural area as a demonstration site. Enrichment plantings, using natural openings in the over-story, focused on diversifying the shrub make-up of the forest and on providing food for wildlife, particularly Ruffed Grouse. A total of 200 larger chokeberry shrubs were planted throughout the woodlot. The management plan identified a lack of woody material throughout the site as one of the main deficiencies of this woodlot. Selectively felling some large poplar was a first step towards addressing this deficiency, as well as providing drumming logs for grouse, and openings for poplar regeneration (food for grouse, snowshoe hare and other wildlife).
- Site promotion. The woodlot trails are promoted to visitors from our office at the Trout River Natural Area in Coleman. An Open House was held to showcase the work done, and demonstrate to private woodlot owners some of the techniques they can use to enhance wildlife habitat on their own lands.