2021 Habitat Projects

ab5528

New member
I recently purchased 41 acres in mid-Michigan. The property holds a good number of birds but has been neglected for many years and fescue is invading. I’ll be doing some work to combat the fescue and restart succession.

Matted Fescue
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Woody Invasion
C08936B7-0972-4A88-8603-A31E331A6B1C.jpeg
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Switch DC64C24B-4858-49FE-8707-15249B2FD74C.jpeg
 

ab5528

New member
Exactly what I was thinking Prairie Drifter.
Mcfarmer, I’m not 100% decided on my plans yet....

But I’m thinking I will burn half of it this spring, the north end. That has less fescue and some good areas of switch that will definitely benefit from a burn. Then I’ll spray the other end in fall and follow with a burn next spring to try and set back any surviving fescue. From there I have to decide if I will spray again and replant that area with NWSG or just see what the seed bank gives me.

The other plan I have is to make a 6 acre block of early successional weeds. Plant 2 acres of it per year to a grain food plot and leave fallow for the follow two years. Replanting every 3 years.

I may also do a small area of shrub planting near the pond.


Sound good for a start?
 

remy3424

Active member
You have yourself a slice of heaven there, congrats!! PF has been there, maybe reach out to them and talk to their habitat folks for suggestions and assistance. Around here they will have or have access to, native grass seed drills, fire control equipment and have personnel for labor. I am assuming none of it is in a government program. Post again in the spring with your plans underway. Exciting!!!
 

RedLion

New member
Very exciting! You’ll be amazed once you get this established. I would suggest predator control as well.
 

ab5528

New member
You have yourself a slice of heaven there, congrats!! PF has been there, maybe reach out to them and talk to their habitat folks for suggestions and assistance. Around here they will have or have access to, native grass seed drills, fire control equipment and have personnel for labor. I am assuming none of it is in a government program. Post again in the spring with your plans underway. Exciting!!!
39 acres is in WRP. So my management options are limited to what they will allow. I can burn, mow, and spray, and can do up to 5% of acreage to foodplot. For any of these activities I need to get compatible use authorizations. I’m working with the NRCS Biologist to get the CUA requests written up.
 

ab5528

New member
Some of my thoughts on where to start have changed. This is how I plan to attack this year. Below is a map of the property and a timeline from the email I sent to NRCS. I also own the 2 acres leading up to the road on the NW but that is not in the WRP easement.Screen Shot 2021-02-09 at 12.47.09 PM.png
For 2021, I would like to focus on the south end of the property. I have 3 main projects in mind.
1. Convert the SW portion of this area (approx 6 acres) to a NWSG Mix.
2. Convert the higher parts of the SE portion of this area (approx 6 acres) to a solid switchgrass stand.
3. Create a small pollinator patch to the east of the pond on the old raised spoil from whenever it was dug out. (approx 1/8)

Here is the timeline of how I would like to go about all of this. Obviously this is weather pending and everything could be bumped by a late melt or flooding rains.

March 2021:
Till Fire Break (light blue line) separating south 1/3 from the rest.
Burn south 1/3rd
Frost Seed Switchgrass (broadcast) east half of south 1/3

April 2021:
Spray Gly on burned area after initial greenup (prior to switch germination). Include simazine on the frost seeded switchgrass side.

May 2021:
Spray Gly+Plateau on SW NWSG area
Drill NWSG Mix

Aug 2021:
Prep and plant firebreaks
Mow Field border on north end of property
Mow pollinator patch

Sept/Oct 2021:
Spray pollinator patch

Dec 21:
Frost Seed pollinator patch

I'm excited to get started and watch it happen!
 

huntsem

Member
It's so good to hear that you have wild birds in mid Michigan.
Lucky you.
I'd add some fruit bearing shrubs and or low growing fruit trees and or evergreens, wind breaks. These provide good late season food and cover. Old apple orchards had always been a major draw for food, cover and roosts when we had wild birds in North Eastern Ohio. Swamp rose around wetlands. I expect your location does occasionally get heavy snows and these cover types can be important then.
 

ab5528

New member
Yea, there is a berm/dike that runs N/S along the east border, I'm thinking of planting some red osier dogwood and ninebark along that in the future. Might throw some high bush cranberry near the wet areas in the SE corner. The woodlot to west doesn't provide much cover but provides a windbreak.
 
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