We both have strong backgrounds in habitat management and strongly believe in careful observation and improvement of land. Summarized below are some of the projects we have been working on to create better habitat on our properties.
Trout Stream Habitat Improvement has been our largest project in scope, the Sucker River Habitat Improvement project is being conducted in partnership with Trout Unlimited, the MN DNR, the University of Minnesota Duluth and the State of Minnesota’s Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Primary funding for the project has been procured via Minnesota Trout Unlimted from the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council. This funding will be used to conduct both in-stream and riparian habitat work. Check out our Sucker River Habitat Improvement page for additional information and the full details.
Riparian Forest Diversity Planting One of our largest projects, the tree planting project continued in 2014. At this time, over 10,000 trees have been planted in the riparian corridor of the Sucker River. This project has been helped by additional DNR funding, as well as funding from the Sucker River Habitat Improvement project. Currently, a large portion of the riparian forest along the Sucker River is composed of black ash trees. In light of the invasive emerald ash borer and our the long-term dire outlook for our ash trees, we are planting a wide mix of different tree species in the riparian corridor, so that in the future no one disease or pest will have the potential to wipe out such a large segment of the forest at once. Tree species currently being planted include white pine, red pine, white cedar, white spruce, tamarack, sugar maple, silver maple, basswood and others. For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer, check out the link to EAB in MN
White Pine Restoration and Research Begun in 2007, our white pine planting program seeks to help restore this once dominant tree species to the forest. Using trees provided by the University of Minnesota, MN DNR Cost Share program, Trout Unlimited and others over 2000 trees have been planted. Much of this planting has been conducted in forest openings, where forest management will ensure a chance for the pines to thrive as they grow. “Wild” white pine trees are also identified and caged to protect them from browsing. Specific research plots have also been created in cooperation with the University of Minnesota. These caged plots are researching white pine blister rust, a deadly disease that has prevented natural reforestation in NE MN.
Sugar Maple Stand Improvement While not a dominant forest type on site currently, sugar maple trees are prevalent in some stands. We began this project by mapping some of our sugar maple trees via GIS to select stands that will benefit the most from our efforts. We are now actively “releasing” these trees where they are overtopped by removing balsam fir, quaking aspen, and black ash. We hope to accelerate growth and reproduction in the stands, and are tapping some trees for maple syrup each season.