Wildlife Habitat at Conservation Collaborative Forest in Victory, Vermont
Conservation Collaboratives’ forest in Victory can best be described as an in-holding in 20,000 acres of a State Forest and Wildlife Management Area. The forest is nearly contiguous with over 130,000 acres of conserved land spanning to the east and north. The property, which is therefore a core of a larger wildlife corridor, provides habitat for a variety of species including the Lynx, Spotted Salamander, Snowshoe Hare, Black Bear, and Moose.
An extremely large vernal pool – approximately 50 feet long and 30 feet wide – was found on the site. Vernal pools, which fill with the snow melt in the spring and dry up by early summer, are critical breeding grounds for frogs and salamanders. As fish and other predators can’t enter the pool, eggs and newborn nymphs have time to mature and survive. This vernal pool has been registered on the Vernal Pool Mapping Project.
Through the National Resource Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, we have created 20 acres of early successional habitat in the forest. Species such as the American woodcock, Ruffed grouse, and New England Cottontail require this habitat for many of their annual life needs. Songbirds such as the golden-winged warbler nest only in this type of habitat. However, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, early successional habitat has drastically declined in recent years.
In addition, we have released from competition over 60 apple trees in this area to provide additional food for bear and other mammals.
We have also cleared out streams that were once “brushed in” during earlier logging operations. These efforts not only improve the forest’s hydrology, but also enable aquatic species to travel freely and support the larger ecosystem.