FI Conservancy’s Middle Farms Habitat Restoration Project

by Jane Ahrens

Update: March 29, 2020
Subject: Fishers island Conservancy / FIDCO Mid-Island Partnership

The first and most important stage of the habitat restoration of the FIDCO parcel (opposite the driving range) has been completed. The nearly three-acre lot, which was a touchpoint of the 2018 F1 tornado, was home to twisted and broken locust trees and many invasive plant species such as bush honeysuckle and Chinese privet.

During the months of February and March, the Conservancy removed all downed trees and most of the invasive species with the exception of a “curtain wall” of vegetation along the road for privacy. Saw logs were removed for firewood and the remaining brush was piled high and burned early on a calm March morning.

In addition, more than two tons of steel was recovered, removed and recycled. The lot was then dragged smooth and seeded with a combination of Fishers Island native grass mix and an annual rye grass to prevent any erosion. With the coming of warmer weather and gentle rains, I am happy to report that the seed is already germinating.

In this time of unpredicted dislocation due to the Corona virus, I find it calming that nature keeps on going. As of this writing, the bird migration is coming on strong. Ospreys, killdeers, Phoebe’s, catbirds, redwing black birds, oyster catchers, and many other species have already returned the island and hopefully, some of them will be using this regenerated site.

Special thanks to FIDCO for partnering with the Conservancy and to Jim Ski and Chris Finan for also making this possible.

When you get a chance, please stop by and take a look and see how Mother Nature, with the smallest of nudges, can really recover.
Tom Sargent
President, FI Conservancy

Click any image to see a larger version. Photo Credit: Tom Sargent & Jane Ahrens

On January 1, 2020,  the Fishers Island Conservancy, in partnership with FIDCO, began a small habitat restoration project on the East End near Middle Farms. The roughly three-acre parcel is bordered on the northeast by Cedar Ridge Road and on the southwest by East End Road.

In the fall of 2018,  this area was the touchdown point of the Island’s first F1 tornado. The parcel was covered with many broken locust trees and cedar trees as well as invasive plant species such as Chinese privet, buckthorn and bush honeysuckle. Our first step was to rid the plot of these plants.

As of now, most of the vegetation has been cleaned up and the area is nearly ready to be planted with a native grassland and wildflower mix from Ernst Seeds of PA. There will also be site-specific tree plantings of Oak, Cherry, Cedar and possibly Chestnut, which are native species to the island. A curtain “wall “of the preexisting vegetation will remain along East End Rd as the rest of the parcel grows in and then will be removed at a later date.

The Conservancy is proud to be working with FIDCO on this small but very important piece of habitat restoration as the Fishers Island Conservancy celebrates its 35th year.

Click any image to see a larger version. Photo Credit: FI Conservancy President, Tom Sargent

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