Friday, March 18, 2011

Controlled burn at Woolsey Wet Prairie helps reduce invasive, nonnative grass such as fescue and prepares land for growing season of native grass such as big bluestem

Please click on individual images to ENLARGE view of Woolsey Wet Prairie. For more photos from Friday at Woolsey Wet Prairie, click live link.
For information about the American Indian company that did the work,  please see Choeleta
Bruce Shackleford and Frou Gallagher. Gallagher is a Fayetteville Government Channel staff videographer and a volunteer producer of many shows for Community Access Television in her spare time.

Bruce Shackleford is a Fayetteville contractor who oversees environmental matters for the Water and Sewer departments and ensures that the city complies with all state and federal watershed issues, including the creation and management of Woolsey Wet Prairie.
Joe Woolbright manages Chesney Prairie, a state nature preserve

Joe Woolbright observing burn at Woolsey Wet Prairie

Greg Howe is Fayetteville's urban forester

Mudwompers no longer is available at its original address, but I believe it exists someplace online and will endeavor to find it to share again soon.
Here is my May 2003 on the issue of mishandling of our watershed and particularly the mishandlng of the once city-owned Wilson Spring property.


Anonymous said...

Why do they burn in spring when animals are nesting? or when the young have just been born?

How do turtles and other slow-movers get away from the flames?

Would nature left to her own devices burn this area once a year every year in spring?

Do they use any weed eradication or native plant encouragement methods other than fire?

Will this area ever be "established" enough to get along without the assistance of human experts?

aubunique said...

Extreme winter weather and continued frequent rain made burning earlier impossible. Joe Woolbright's team saw this week as a final window to get it done. See closeup of Joe's business card for if you want to ask him more about the philosophy and science involved.
The group is expected to burn the Wilson Spring nature preserve in coming days. That property is in a land trust managed by Audubon Arkansas

aubunique said...

Wilson Spring (actually the land downstream from the actual spring now buried under the freeway right of way) was promised to Audubon Arkansas but title was never transferred. The property is in a permanent land trust and Audubon is allowed to manage it as prairie habitat. Woolsey Wet Prairie is a wetland-mitigation site required to be created by the city, which filled prairie wetland for its westside-sewage-treatment plant.

aubunique said...

Relatively few native wet-prairie plants will be damaged this week. But a month from now burning or mowing would suppress many natives as well as non-native species.
Mowing, brush hogging or burning should be done on prairies ONLY in December, January and February.
That message is only gradually being heard by maintenance people and gardeners.

aubunique said...

The flash fire method used by the professional prairie-restorers kills relatively few animals or birds. It would be interesting, however, if you were to put on some boots and go search for evidence of dead animals of any kind on the Woolsey land today.
Hawks, however, are likely still picking of some prey left exposed. They need the nutrition as they approach their nesting season. Later disturbance would be bad.

aubunique said...

I was hoping to post the MUDWOMPERS site here, but I will contact Joe Neal to find out where it may now be found because its original address goes to a site I can't read! Joe Neal got one of the greatest disappointments of his life when the tallgrass prairie part of the Wilson Spring property was brush-hogged by a Fayetteville crew with the permission of then-mayor Dan Coody in nesting season.