The Stewardship Team is Hard at Work this Fall

GPC's stewardship team in the field.

GPC’s stewardship team has been hard at work this fall (as always!). Read on to see how they’ve been working to protect and improve GPC preserves:

Marking Boundaries

During a recent field day, GPC stewardship staff and AmeriCorps VISTA fellows learned why companies charge so much for performing land surveys! At GPC’s Rocky Creek Preserve in the Key Peninsula, the field crew used survey data to locate wooden survey markers and stakes along the Preserve’s boundaries. Because the wooden stakes eventually rot and disappear, the team either replaces them with PVC tubes or hard plastic posts. These new posts, sporting GPC’s conservation boundary stickers, clearly mark the preserve’s perimeters, which helps neighboring landowners respect shared boundary lines, and avoid future conflicts. 

Finding the survey markers along Rocky Creek Preserve’s boundaries was not for the faint of heart. The team had to navigate steep, densely vegetated terrain, mostly without trails. However, this is also an opportunity to learn what dwells deep within GPC’s preserves and everyone is generally in good spirits in the field, despite torn rain gear and blackberry lashings. The reward for these efforts on this particular day was watching a river otter drag a salmon into the underbrush during lunch!

Ushering in a Diverse Ecosystem

The stewardship team is continuing to improve the health and quality of our preserve’s forestlands by creating snags and making other wildlife habitat improvements.  With another round of funding from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative, GPC is collaborating with Jefferson Land Trust, to study how birds respond to these conservation practices. This week at GPC’s Grovers Creek Preserve, stewardship staff girdled 20 trees including red alder, bigleaf maple and Douglas fir to create standing snags.  These snags will eventually rot and will provide important wildlife habitat resources for a variety of wildlife. Ultimately, these decaying trees will topple over which increases habitat on the forest floor, also important for wildlife and soil development.