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ENB - Region 7 Notices 5/9/2012

Negative Declaration

Schuyler and Tompkins Counties - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Grassland Management on Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves the use of prescribed fire and herbicides as management tools on 600 acres of grassland areas on Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Grasslands on Connecticut Hill WMA are comprised predominately of cool season grasses with golden rod being the dominate variety. Management of these areas is accomplished through biannual rotary mowing with the occasional top dressing of lime. This management technique is proving unsuccessful in preventing ecological succession and maintaining the attractiveness of these grasslands for wildlife species. Pioneering vegetation uses stored carbohydrates from their root systems to produce new shoots following cutting. Additionally, the coppicing of some of these species elucidates a suckering response in the plant causing numerous stems grow at various points along its root system. This has the negative effect of increasing stem densities in the field. Heat from prescribed fire penetrates the ground and severely damages the plant's root system ultimately killing the plant. Additional benefits of prescribed fire include removal of dendrites materials, reduction/removal of tick populations, and increasing the nutrient recycling rate. Through the reduction of dendrites materials, sunlight is able to reach the ground's surface causing the soils to warm facilitating germination of recently planted seeds and/or those which lay dormant in the seed bank. However, occasions will arise when the use of prescribed fire will not be possible (wet spring, ground vegetation greens up too fast, small stand of invasive plants, etc.). During these times, herbicides will be used to prepare the fields for planting or to treat the invasive plant species. The project is located approximately 16 miles southwest of the City of Ithaca, New York in Schuyler and Tompkins Counties.

Contact: Michael Putnam, NYS DEC - Region 7 Cortland Sub Office, 1285 Fisher Avenue, Cortland, NY 13045, Phone: (607) 753-3095 ext 296, E-mail: mlputnam@gw.dec.state.ny.us.


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