Tag Archives: ecological restoration

Patriot LWM to Present on Innovative Concepts for Ecological Restoration & Natural Resource Management to the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance

Join the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance on February 27th at 1pm for their upcoming meeting featuring an exciting presentation by Patriot Land & Wildlife Management Services, Inc., as well as partner updates and networking. Patriot Land & Wildlife Management Services, Inc. will be presenting on their on-the-ground experiences with innovative concepts for ecological restoration and natural resource management. Selected practices include: Utilizing goats for invasive species control; wildflower & pollinator plantings; a new custom cover crop planting service; Biohaven® floating islands; and alternative agricultural production concepts like diversionary wildlife food plots and the incorporation of sustainable agricultural practices on managed lands. Please RSVP to Heather Montgomery.

Location:

Thurmont Regional Library Community Room

76 East Moser Road Thurmont, MD 21788

 
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Patriot Office Christmas Tree Drop Off Program

Christmas Tree Drop Off

Christmas has come and gone, but it is still the season for giving. As you get the last few days out of your beautifully decorated Christmas tree and begin to ponder the best way to haul it out of the house without creating the inevitable mess, it’s also time to think about what to do with it once it’s back outdoors.

Kick it to the curb for sanitation to come pickup and trash? Haul it to the dump? Throw it in the woods along a slow country road (we hate when people do that)? Drop it off at Patriot Land and Wildlife in Dickerson free of charge where we can repurpose it for wildlife habitat all across the area for little critters like rabbits, ground nesting birds, and even fish to enjoy? OF COURSE! What better sense does it make to complete the circle by harvesting a tree for you and your family to enjoy during the holidays, then return it to nature in a still usable state for wildlife to utilize once again! These repurposed trees provide nesting areas for birds, hiding areas for rabbits and other ground-dwellers, and even shady areas in the summer for fish.

So bring your trees on by our office between 8 AM – 4 PM, Monday – Friday. 22300 Dickerson Road, Dickerson MD 20842. Please proceed through the blue gates and place your tree in the pile past the board fence on the left side of the driveway. Please remove all non-organic material (stands, tinsel, etc.) from the trees prior to drop off. We will use these trees across the local area to create new and enhance current wildlife habitat. It feels good to give back, doesn’t it? Happy Holidays from the Patriot Land and Wildlife family to your family!

Call us at 240-687-7228 if you have any questions!

“Water (for the) World” – Maryland Life Article Highlights Floating Island Project

Clean Water Maryland Initiatives

Photo by Christopher Myers - Maryland Life

Countries Taking Notice of Maryland’s Efforts

By Ryan Schultze – Patriot LWM

Living within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and more specifically, a stone’s throw from the Bay itself, we are fortunate to have a variety of people helping to improve it. For decades now the Bay has been suffering poor health from pollution and nutrient overload and virtually every species of wildlife has suffered the consequences. While it is true that the Chesapeake Bay Watershed consists of 6 States, Marylanders feel the repercussions the hardest, because all their environmental problems run right into our Bay. To make matters worse, Maryland’s booming development due to its proximity to Washington, DC is aiding in the loss of crucial wetlands which help to filter and remove these pollutants and nutrients from the equation. New technologies are giving conservationists new tools to do battle with, though.

Implementing clean water initiatives is tough work, but somebody’s got to do it, and we have the perfect backyard to prove their worth – the Chesapeake Bay. A recent article in Maryland Life Magazine by Donya Currie highlights some of these very issues-“With its 41 million acres of watershed and 200,000 miles of shoreline, the Bay is the most-studied estuary—which, by definition, contain salt water, fresh water, and brackish water, a mixture of both—in the world”.

Of course, every Country on the planet is experiencing these same water quality problems, also. Well, we must be doing something right. Maryland is doing so many things so well that other Countries are taking notice. The Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP) is a new initiative bridging public-private partnerships to address the massive water, energy, and pollution prevention issues throughout the Asian continent, highlighting local clean-water technologies being implemented in Maryland.  “Maryland is well-positioned to help in the quest for cleaner water, both thanks to the natural backyard laboratory that is the Chesapeake Bay and because a trove of scientists, engineers, and business owners has come together to showcase the viability of new technology for pollution prevention and cleanup.”(Maryland Life)

On the leading edge of water quality improvement using new technology are our partners at BlueWing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, one of the partners of MD-AEP. BlueWing and Patriot LWM are constantly promoting BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands, which have shown time and time again their benefit across the State in aquatic situations when it comes to water quality improvement. “They’re a concentrated wetland, and they’re made of all recycled materials, which is cool,” says Ted Gattino, a managing partner of the Ellicott City-based BlueWing Environmental Solutions and Technology. “They can be placed in almost any water body. The reports keep getting better and better.” “The Chesapeake is probably farther ahead than many areas in the world in starting to have integrated solutions to energy and the environment and agriculture” says Dr. George Oyler, founder of Clean Green Chesapeake. That being said, Maryland’s leadership in this battle to reclaim the Bay is surely turning heads elsewhere in the world, with other countries looking to us as an example. (Maryland Life)

For a comprehensive read about these new technologies being implemented, check out the attached link to the Maryland Life article “Water (for the) World”.

http://www.marylandlife.com/articles/water-%28for-the%29-world/

Floating Island Partners Hard at Work in Midwest! Cool Videos from Minneapolis.

Here are 2 cool videos featuring our working partners in conservation Blue Wing Environmental Solutions & Technologies as they along with Midwest Floating Island and American Society of Landscape Architects show what impacts one group of regular citizens can have on their own water quality issues. These videos are of a Floating Island launch in Minneapolis as part of an effort to help solve a local lakes water quality issues. Contact Patriot LWM or CLICK HERE to learn more about Floating Island Technology!

http://www.kstp.com/article/12303/?vid=2764965&v=1
http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/cs_api/iframe?pl_id=16621&page_count=4&wpid=8700&windows=1&show_title=0&va_id=2764965&auto_start=0&auto_next=0

Hope Floats – Man-made islands create ecosystems to heal polluted rivers

A few years ago, Patriot Land and Wildlife was fortunate to be involved with an innovative water quailty improvement project in Washington, DC on the Anacostia River. Teamed with Bluewing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, Patriot LWM helped install several BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands at Diamond Teague Park in DC, with the intention of providing much-needed water quality improvement. These BioHaven islands are capable of removing as many nutrients from the waterbody as 6 acres of natural wetlands.

Diamond Teague is just across the street from the Washington Nationals baseball stadium and is a popular riverside destination for ballpark patrons, among others. The dual functionaility of water quality stewardship and ornamental landscaping allowed for a great project to occur, and lots of attention drawn to the problems suffered by our waterways.  Author Mike Cronin of “The Daily” spotlights the project.

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It turns out that recycled plastic may do more for the environment than just save it from unnecessary garbage. Man-made floating islands constructed from the stuff are helping to revive urban rivers devastated by centuries of industrial pollution.The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., for example, has been slowly coming back to life, roughly two years after the Maryland-based company Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technology anchored seven man-made islands there in an area near Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play. Those islands are the brainchild of Bruce and Anne Kania, the married couple who run Floating Islands International in Shepherd, Mont.“We are providing an affordable, doable, non-chemical solution, and people are going, ‘Aha!’ ” said Anne, Floating Islands’ CEO.Bruce realized years ago that wetlands work naturally to clean up pollutants, so the Kanias started mimicking floating ecosystems with recycled fiber from plastic bottles.Just days after the floating islands are placed in the water, a film of bacteria and other microbes forms on the mesh filters and other plastic parts of the fake landmasses, said Bruce, adding that the microbes eat nutrients and form biofilm in the process. Biofilm is the base of periphyton, which is in turn the base of the freshwater food chain. Everything from zooplankton to nymphs and minnows thrive off it.“They clean up the water and take nutrients that otherwise would have turned into algae and turn them into fish food,” said Bruce, who got the idea for the floating islands after observing the natural, peat-based floating islands of northern Wisconsin.“Three years ago, we could see only 14 inches into our 6.5-acre research pond,” he said. “Now, we can see 11 feet into it.”

The Kanias founded their company in 2005. Today they have seven manufacturers worldwide and 4,000 islands in use around the globe. Customers pay roughly $27 per square foot and may order any shape or size of floating island, which can be used in rivers, ponds, lakes and even the ocean.
Kevin Hedge, a wetland scientist and partner at Blue Wing, sees the synthetic islands as more than just a savior to an ailing environment.

“The floating islands are an ecological-restoration tool that also can be an economic-recovery tool,” he said.

Lanshing Hwang, the Maryland landscape architect who designed the island park in Washington, called it “an innovative approach — particularly for places that don’t have wetlands.

By Mike Cronin Saturday – May 21, 2011

Eye Opening Deer Study from Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute

It has long been known that an overpopulation of deer has negative effects on your vehicle when they wander into the roadway infront of you, or your flowers when the deer make their way to your yard, but a study from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute is pinning a new victim on this overpopulation, our forests. Biologists looked at the effects of deer overpopulation on forest regeneration and how that relates to the growth of invasive species of plants. What they found is sure to be a wake up call for the ecological community who must now look at wildlife management as another tool to protect and ensure the health of their natural community.

Story from WAMU.org:

A world with deer (left) versus a world without them (right). The difference is stark and extends from the ground to the canopy -- birds, mice, and chipmunks are more abundant without deer. Courtesy of: Xiaoli Shen

Deer Overpopulation Yields Disastrous Results For Forests

Sabri Ben-Achour

WAMU Radio Report

May 23, 2011 – As an ever-rising population of white-tailed deer have bumped up against their human neighbors in the D.C. area, the results haven’t been pretty. There were an estimated 88,000 deer-vehicle collisions in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Delaware last year.

Dozens of species, some relatively rare, flourish without deer to munch on them. Importantly, young trees are able to survive too. When old trees die, there are plenty of saplings waiting in the wings to take their place -- not so in a forest of overpopulated deer. Courtesy of: Xiaoli Shen

But beyond the roads, experts say the deer are also having a major impact on forests, which are unable to replenish themselves to nurture the next generation due to the deer population’s eating habits.

To illustrate this decline in forests during the past several years, a group of scientists blocked off a chunk of woods to the deer more than two decades ago.

A slice of untouched, and uneaten, woods

It’s called an exclosure, and it’s a place where no deer have trod for decades. Back in 1990, scientists at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., closed off 10 acres of forest with 8-foot high fences to see how the land would evolve without its furry friends.

“So we’re comparing inside the fence to the outside the fence,” says Bill McShea, a wildlife ecologist at SCBI. “And there’s two things of note. One is, it’s green on both sides of the fence but in here it’s a lot more diverse than out there.”

That is an understatement. The deer side of the fence has a carpet of grass, a shrubby looking thing and some large trees — things that are either too big for deer to eat or among the very few plants they don’t like to eat.

Inside is practically a jungle, with dozens of different almost exotic looking plants are tumbling over one another, many of them young trees.

“In here I can see white ash and hickory and red maples and white maples and serviceberry,” McShea says. “A whole bunch of under story and canopy trees that are all now three or four feet tall. We are looking at 20, 30 species. There’s a lot of diversity in here. You look out there, and it’s a much simpler world.”

Deer-eaten forests risk dying

That simpler world is an aging world. Really, it’s a dying world as far as forests go.

“The future is not good. There are no teenagers, there’s no young adults,” McShea says of the trees and other foliage. “Everybody’s a mature individual. Whereas, inside this fence you have the complete profile of ages. You have youngsters, you have teenagers, you have middle-aged adults, you have the old trees.

“And when the old trees go — and they’re going to go, because that’s what happens with old trees, they fall over — there is something here to take its place,” McShea says. “Out there, I don’t see anything out there that’s a small tree.”

These results of the exclosure, although striking, are what scientists could have predicted. One of the surprising things they found, however, is that deer allow invasive species to flourish.

“The Japanese stilt grass is just coming up now as a highly invasive annual grass,” says Norm Bourg, a plant ecologist with SCBI.

The Japanese-origin grass carpets the floor outside the exclosure, but inside, there are many more native species present.

“There’s a lot of native species like horse balm,” Bourg says, gesturing to the plants beneath his feet. “This is black cohosh, which is a native medicinal plant that you hardly ever see out there.”

With fewer native plants outside the exclosure, there are fewer birds there that depend on them for nests and food, and there are also fewer mice and chipmunks when they have to compete with deer.

Deer population is result of re-population

But it wasn’t always this way. One hundred years ago, deer were nearly extinct in Maryland and extremely rare in Virginia.

“By that time, you couldn’t find a deer or a turkey or a bear in the state,” McShea says. “Both the habitat changes and the restaurant trade eliminated most of those animals.”

Today’s ubiquitous food trend of “buying local” was the norm back then, and hunting was an industry, says McShea.

“They weren’t going to put a cow on a train in Texas and ship it to Virginia,” McShea says. “If you were going to go to a restaurant, order yourself a steak, for the most part that was a venison steak.”

In the early part of the 1900’s, newly minted state game departments rushed to the rescue, banning or regulating hunting and setting up parks.

“When they made the Shenandoah Park in the 1930s, they went and got deer from Arkansas and brought them back here to repopulate that area,” says McShea. “So growing the deer population was intentional. It’s a conservation story and it went just like they planned.”

A conservation effort’s unintended consequences

The result is that today, there are several million deer, and, as McShea puts it, “the flip side has happened.

“They’re hitting too many cars, there’s too much gardens being eaten, the forest succession is changing,” he continues. “We’ve got to dial that back a little bit.

Deer aren’t evil, McShea is quick to emphasize, but they have no predators now and they need to be managed. States currently rely primarily on scheduled hunts, where the public is allowed to come in and take out deer.

That works well on parkland to some extent, but it doesn’t work on private property or in federal parks, which have been slower to adopt aggressive management.

“We have time for that, we don’t have to make a decision this year,” he says. But we don’t have decades, he adds. Trees don’t live forever.

Usually, species compete for light. But where there are too many deer, they compete on the basis of deer resistance. Few species are unpalatable to deer, so few species prevail and they tend to be invasive. Courtesy of: Xiaoli Shen


Constructing a Future: Wood Duck Boxes and You

Maryland is home to a rich variety of waterfowl species. We’ve all seen Canada geese honking their way from pond to field. Some of them endure the winter migration, and some of them are year-round residents who call Maryland home. Ever seen a wood duck? Well, much is the same with wood ducks, arguably the most beautiful duck native to North America.Wood ducks nest in tree cavities near water and utilize wetlands as their home to raise their young. Unfortunately, as urban sprawl occurs, more and more of these wetlands are being destroyed, limiting the wood duck’s habitat and success in Maryland. Don’t lose faith. A lot is being done to bring the population back to where it once existed. You can become part of the effort too, and it doesn’t take much.

Wood ducks suffered a serious decline in the late 19th century for a variety of reasons, including habitat loss and market hunting for their meat and plumage.  Because of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, market hunting was ended and measures were enacted to protect remaining habitat. Wood duck populations began to rebound in the 1920s, and the development of the artificial nesting box and its implementation by Federal and State governments and local wildlife enthusiasts in the 1930s began providing an additional boost to wood duck production. The hope was that the ducks would utilize the “cavity” characteristic of the boxes to nest. The ducks did, and they made an astounding comeback. Nesting sites are only half the battle, though. Woods ducks also require wetland habitat that provides them with shelter, food, and protection from predators. If you have a wooded stream or pond on your property or if you live along a Chesapeake Bay shore with woods nearby (which is alot of you!), you may be able to attract wood ducks simply by constructing a nest box.

Building a wood duck box is simple, inexpensive, and there are plenty of plans you can find online that detail designs, placement, etc. Do your homework.
The Maryland Wood Duck Initiative, an all-volunteer effort,  aims “to enhance Maryland’s wood duck population and to generate a greater appreciation of the wetland habitats in which they live by advocating and demonstrating the merits of a “best practices” approach in managed nest programs.” State agencies like the Department of Natural Resources, conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited, and companies like Patriot LWM are other important resources for anything wood duck related and are more than happy to  provide you with information and help develop your wood duck plan.

So, now for some more timely information. What are wood ducks doing right now in Maryland? Wood ducks nest from April to June, so right now is a great time to get your nesting boxes built, or cleaned out if you already have boxes (if you’re anything like me, you’re tired of being cooped up in the house and are itching for a reason to get outside and do something).  Add a few inches of wood shavings (don’t use sawdust because it can suffocate the ducklings) for nesting material, attach the boxes to poles (don’t forget the predator guards!), and place them around forested areas near the water for when they arrive. You’ve now become a part of the effort! The rest is up to the ducks.

A few professional tips:

  • Females often search for a nesting site early in the mornings; therefore try to face the opening of the box towards the east so the opening is more visible from morning rays of sunlight.
  • Try to avoid facing the opening towards the prevailing wind for the area as this will cause undo stress on the nesting birds.
  • Limit the amount of underbrush under the boxes to reduce predator access to the poles.

 If a wood duck finds your box suitable for laying eggs, in about 1 month 9-12 eggs will hatch and, within 24 hours, the ducklings will use their sharp claws to climb to the nest box entrance and fall to the ground or water.  Once on the ground, the female will lead the ducklings to the nearest body of water (they won’t come back to the nest, don’t take it personally). Wood duck young can fly in about 60 days from hatching; meanwhile, their mother looks after them and protects them from harm*courtesy of Maryland DNR*.  It’s always a good idea to check your nesting boxes once during the nesting season to clean them out and add new nesting material. Besides doing some housekeeping, a visit during the nesting season will show if your nesting boxes have been productive and improve the odds of the box being used again during the season.

So there you have it. You made an effort and it didn’t take much, did it? Enjoy the feeling that comes from conservation, and share it with a child – they are our future conservationists. And every time you catch a glimpse of a wood duck’s beautiful iridescent plumage or hear their unmistakable “ooo-eeekk” squeal echo through the woods or across the water, consider it a “Thanks.”

If you’d like to get a fully assembled wood duck box and predator guard contact Patriot LWM at 240-687-7228.