Date: 5/3/19 5:01 am From: Chas Argent <chas.argent...> Subject: Re: [MDBirding] Mount Pleasant Farm/What The—
I called yesterday and spoke with a woman who said the same thing about invasive control, and that the property was on a 3-year mowing program. She also said the people hired to do the work went too far and did areas they were not supposed to. Presumably no one was supervising to prevent this.
It is simply mind-boggling to me that anyone running a land trust would not understand the most basic tenets of how to "model responsible stewardship of our environment" (as their own mission statement says) and not do this work in late Summer, *after* breeding season but before Winter, when the plants would have time to re-establish themselves to be in place the following Spring.
On Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 11:54:14 PM UTC-4, Russ Ruffing wrote:
> I spoke to the land manager on Tuesday about this. They did it to control invasives. Personally, I think it was a huge mistake for two reasons. First, it is not possible to successfully control the countless invasives that we now have in this state on such a large parcel without dramatically affecting habitat the way they have. Face it, multiflora rose, tear thumb, stiltgrass and all the rest are here to stay. Second, they did this literally right before the arrival of breeders. This is one of the few places in Howard County that still has nesting Prairie Warblers and Blue Grosbeaks and may be the only place left with nesting Chats. I’ve noticed much lower numbers of Prairies there thus far and to my knowledge no Chats have yet returned. When and if they do, will they find it suitable for breeding? Time will tell. To me, it was done with no thought as to timing or the specialized habitat needs of these important breeders. I’m all for controlling invasives where and when possible but not so dramatically that you basically leave a moonscape right before spring breeding season.
> I might add that the grasslands to the west (which are managed by Rec and Parks I believe) are also mowed with little to no thought given to the habitat needs of Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows, both of which have dropped dramatically there in recent years.
> Finally as an FYI, the county executives approved the development of the major parcel (the Murtew farm) that abuts the Conservancy to the north. This tract of land made a continuous wonderful grassland/field habitat that connected the Conservancy lands to the Patapsco State Park. Now it will have 23 homesites on it that will encroach right up to the Conservancy’s northern border, further fragmenting the habitat. They are turning dirt already. And get this - the development is named “The Preserve”! Yeah, the only thing being preserved is the wealth of the developers when they ramrodded approvals for this blight through the county planning commission.
> Russ Ruffing
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On May 2, 2019, at 3:52 PM, Chas Argent wrote:
> > Is anyone aware of why the understory/brush and and all the fields have been essentially striped bare at Mount Pleasant Farm this spring? I was there in early February and the place was basically unchanged from previous years.
> > I went there today for the first time this Spring and was shocked to see it all gone, and in many cases down to exposed dirt and nothing more. It seems odd to me to do this in Springtime but maybe there's some consideration of which I am unaware.
> > Chas Argent
> > Catonsville, MD
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