Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JAN 2019

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Page 46 of 117

January 2019 47 The small mammals and songbirds sustained by the planted habitat will provide a food source for predators such as hawks and foxes. Tall cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) and partially-dead trees surrounding the habitat area provide perches from which raptors can stalk prey. A nearby fox den appears to be occupied based on recent digging activity. Plant species were selected based on their tolerance for the observed site conditions. Shrubs are expected to provide cover for songbirds starting the first year, and for small mammals starting the second year. The five-gallon planted trees will provide perches and cover for songbirds starting the first year, and the one-gallon trees will provide cover by the third year. Herbaceous species will provide cover the first year, and will fill in and expand into the tree and shrub planting area over several years. The Phase 1 habitat project area previously consisted of lawn encircled by several mulberry trees and a large silver maple. These trees provide berries and seeds during a very limited period of the year. The addition of shade- tolerant shrubs and wildflowers to the area under the trees enhances the ability of the area to provide wildlife cover, and extends food production to the full growing season. Areas that formerly contained lawn in the full sun have been planted to oak trees that will provide nuts that can be stockpiled by squirrels and other mammals for winter use. This increases the ability of the area to support a diverse set of wildlife year-round. The Outcome While the project is still very new, it appears to be highly successful. Plant mortality following 4 years of monitoring is very low – better than a 95% survival rate. Animal diversity appears to be increasing with several observations of species in 2016 that were not spotted in 2015, including deer and blue heron, and evidence of beaver. Green heron and bald eagles have also been observed. On Thursday, October 5, 2017, a wildlife habitat team organized a Bird Walk with several habitat and wildlife experts. On the walk, they spotted a total of 16 separate species including blue jay, warbling vireo, green heron, chestnut-sided warbler, kingfisher, red-bellied woodpecker, song sparrow, catbird, dark-eyed junco, hairy woodpecker, Brewster's warbler, great blue heron, robin and American goldfinch. The success of the project can be summed up by one of the members of the habitat team, Brad Kassuba, an expert in avian wildlife. "It's a great site!" he said. "It's located on the water and it's close to the migratory fly-ways of many birds. The trees and shrubs [used on the project] will make it better and better as the years go by." Above: A group of volunteers during the 2017 Spring Planting Event. Nannyberry Nodding Wild Onion Obedient Plant Red-Berried Elder Wild Strawberry

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