Better Wildlife Habitat: Water, Woods and Beyond


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Learn about Wildlife Habitat in the Virginia Piedmont -- what it is, why we care, what a landowner can do to improve it.

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  • This chart shows known wildlife species in both counties based on DGIF data. Loudoun appears to have more, most due to bird species. This is an opportunity for Fauquier to get competitive to improve habitat!
  • 50 million acres is twice the size of PA
  • Lawns in the northeast
  • Some species are common and becoming more common (Canada goose, starling, white tailed deer) due to our land management actions. Many species like Bob white quail, Cereluan warbler, and wood turtle are declining. Our goal should be to manage for as many species as possible, but particular those in need.
  • 2 species that have declined dramatically in the Piedmont
  • Food and cover are the 2 things a landowner can easily improve. Often you can do both at the same time.
  • The typical landscape in Northern Fauquier County
  • Good habitat makes good neigbhors
  • The monarch larva
  • Data is from D. Tallamy and his book Bringing Nature Home
  • kudzu
  • Our image of a forest…barren/park like
  • No cover at forest floor
  • Better Wildlife Habitat: Water, Woods and Beyond

    1. 1. Prepared for theOrange County HuntMarch 18th, 2012James BarnesSustainable HabitatProgram Managerjbarnes@pecva.org540-347-2334 ext. 30 Photo credit: Cast A Line Photography, Flickr
    2. 2.  What is Wildlife Habitat? Why care about Habitat? What can a landowner do to improve habitat:  30,000’ view  Forest & Water  Field & Thicket: (See Separate Powerpoint) Question & Answer
    3. 3.  Provide a voice for habitat & wildlife in region Habitat Outreach: website, tours, workshops Provide consultation to landowners Coordinate Regional Partnerships  Trout Unlimited  Virginia Working Landscapes Manage PEC’s Ovoka property
    4. 4. Fauquier Loudoun 50 Mammals  50 Mammals 69 Fish  67 Fish 23 Amphibians  24 Amphibians 31 Reptiles  33 Reptiles 15 Mollusks  16 Mollusks 178 Birds  193 Birds Data source: DGIF data
    5. 5. Photo credit: Wally GobetzPhoto credit: Ken Garrett Flickr photo credit: edgeplot
    6. 6. Habitat needs/scale are dependent on the species in question,whether you’re a black bear or a mourning cloak butterfly Photo credit: Up North Photos
    7. 7. PEC promotes smart growth, land conservation,and tries to prevent sprawling land use patterns.
    8. 8. PEC has beenremarkablesuccessful overthe years witheasements
    9. 9. 2011…
    10. 10. But how is that land stewarded? Flickr photo credit: ChesapeakeBayEO
    11. 11. Is this good stewardship? Image credit: American Consumer News
    12. 12. Photo credit: Rror Some species are common and becoming more common (Canada goose, starling, white tailed deer). Many species like Bobwhite quail, Cerulean warbler, and Wood turtle are declining. Our goal should be to manage land for as many species as possible, but particular those in need.Photo credit: USFWS Photo credit: Mdf
    13. 13. 2 species that have declined dramatically in the Piedmont
    14. 14. Photo credit: Wally Gobetz photo credit:Photo credit: Ken Garrett edgeplot
    15. 15.  Allow for “Wild-ness”
    16. 16. A typical landscape in Northern Fauquier County
    17. 17. Many landowners manage for formalareas and/or fescue pastures that oftenprovide no or very little habitat Flickr photo credit: juco
    18. 18. But there are other ways to manage, like this: note the mowed walkways for accessPhoto credit: Bruce Jones
    19. 19. Or this…awoodlandoasis.
    20. 20.  Allow for “Wild-ness” Create/Manage a diversity of Habitats
    21. 21. Piedmont landowners have lots of land on the far leftand far right extreme of this graph. For better Source: Encylopedia of Earth,habitat, there needs to be more in the middle. Michael Pidwirny
    22. 22.  Allow for “Wild-ness” Create/Manage a diversity of Habitats Connectivity is critical
    23. 23. Corridors can be continental in scale Image source: US Fish & Wildlife Service
    24. 24. Or regional
    25. 25. Or on the scaleof multiplelandowners Photo source: USDA, NRCS
    26. 26.  Allow for “Wild-ness” Create Habitat Diversity Connectivity is critical Get your neighbors on board
    27. 27.  Allow for “Wild-ness” Create Habitat Diversity Connectivity is critical Get your neighbors on board Promote Indicator species  Keystone  Umbrella  Flagship  Rare/Uncommon species
    28. 28. ”For the foreseeable future ... there is noescaping the need to manage nature. The best we can do is to observe the following rule:To manage nature as to minimize the need to manage nature.” The Ecology of Eden, Evan Eisenberg
    29. 29. source: Better Homes & Garden source: Heavenly bamboo (Nadina), Oriental bittersweet, tree of heaven, boxwoods. All of these are non-native. 2 are invasive source: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia source:
    30. 30. The impacts of non- natives plants on our wildlife are cascading and unclear. For example, Cedar waxwing males have less red on their wingbar if they eat invasive honeysuckle berries (not shown). This may affect their ability to reproduce.source: Frankenstoen, Flickr
    31. 31. Who depends on milkweed plants?source: Peter Gorman Photography, Flickr
    32. 32. The monarch butterfly larva stage must feed on milk weed plants. No other genera of plants can support it.source: Cotinus Photography, Flickr
    33. 33. source: Stonebird Photography, Flickr
    34. 34. Native plants promote native insects whichpromote native wildlife
    35. 35.  Oak - 534 Willow - 456 Cherry/Plum - 456 Birch - 413 Poplar - 368 Crabapple - 311 Blueberry - 288 Maple - 285 Elm - 213 Pine - 203 Photo source: A. Bockoven
    36. 36. Photo credit: Jane Shelby Richardson Photo credit: Jane Shelby Richardson Oaks, goldenrods, redbuds, blueberries…all are examples of native plants that are beautiful/functional and that support lots of wildlife.Photo credit: Jane Shelby Richardson Photo credit: Jim Clark
    37. 37. Photo credit: Jon Person
    38. 38. Photo credit: Amber Coakley
    39. 39. Snags are a hotel and restaurant for wildlifePhoto source:, Utrecht Photo source:
    40. 40. Pileated and chickdees are primary cavity nesters…they can make their own holes.Photo source: USDA,by Lyle Madeson
    41. 41. Wood duck and barn owl need nests made byothers.
    42. 42. You cancreateartificialsnags bygirdlingliving trees Photo source:, user: Lamiot
    43. 43. Photo source:
    44. 44. No cover at forest floorPhoto source: Francis Peacocke photography
    45. 45. Photo credit: Connecticut Ornithological Association Oven bird need cover on ground so they can build nests in forests
    46. 46. What a healthy forest floor could look like…
    47. 47. Photo source:
    48. 48. If you care about wildlife and the health of your property, hunt deer or allow hunting
    49. 49. We eliminated natural deer predators sowe have an obligation to hunt them Photo source:
    50. 50. Impacts of deer are clearly seen in exclosureswhere vegetation can grow without heavybrowse
    51. 51. American redstarts are birdswho’s numbers decline when deernumbers are high McShea and Rappole 2000
    52. 52. Deer also don’t eat invasive plants like Japanese barberry.Photo source: Hope Leeson
    53. 53.  Improve or maintain a healthy forest Increase wildlife habitat on your property Enhance natural beauty and land values Increase your recreational opportunities Reduce soil erosion and improve water quality Protect your property from wildfire, insects and disease Increase your income from forest products Reduce your taxes
    54. 54.  Go Native! / Control Invasive Plants Leave/create Snags Leave downed woods Control Deer Make a Forest Management Plan
    55. 55. Photo credit: Frank Crocker
    56. 56. This is a bad riparian buffer
    57. 57. This is a good buffer Photo credit: Iowa State University
    58. 58. A good buffer using grass in aHOA setting
    59. 59.  100+ Feet: Belted kingfisher & cold water fish 300+ Feet: Bobcat & muskrat 600+Feet: Scarlet Tanager & bald eagles Bigger is better for riparian buffers and wildlife Photo credit: Rick Leche
    60. 60. Bad pond, forested/shrub edge….little space for cover
    61. 61. Good pond…lots of structure and edge in the background. Yet the foreground is mowed and provides recreational access.Photo source: Mark Anderson Photography, Flickr
    62. 62. Willow flycatchers are dependent on coveraround ponds/wetlands
    63. 63. Photo credit: flickr, stevehdc Beaver’s can become issue though since they can kill trees and dam up ponds, etc.
    64. 64. But the ponds/meadow they createare some of the most remarkablewildlife spots in our region. If youcan deal with a beaver’shandiwork, it’s worth it.
    65. 65. James BarnesSustainable HabitatProgram Managerjbarnes@pecva.org540-347-2334 ext. 30