The Habitat Management Symposium is a training conference for those performing on-the-ground habitat improvement practices. It's designed for the professional and landowner improving and planning wildlife, forest, stream and pollinator habitat
This symposium will occur in three parts, Tuesdays at 10 am ET/ 9 am CT, on March 16, March 23, and March 30. It is being organized by Woods and Waters Land Trust (Jody Thompson), Kentucky State University Extension (Jonathan Palmer), and University of Kentucky Forestry Extension (Ellen Crocker).
Presentation Descriptions – March 16
• Small Game Habitat Management: A Small Acreage Landowner Example
Cody Rhoden, Small Game Biologist, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
The Bluegrass state needs a facelift! As the weedy and brushy idle areas of the 1970s have fallen in the wake of modern agriculture and the over-use of the bushhog, it is time to look at what we can do on our lands to return idle areas to the plants and animals that desperately need them. Birds, insects, mammals and many other groups of animals are in steep decline in Kentucky because they have nowhere to hide, over-winter, or rest peacefully. At this point in the decline of Kentucky’s wildlife habitat, every bit counts. In this talk, we will discuss practices we can do right now to curb this decline in habitat. More importantly, we can change our neighbors’ mindset from the perception that a clean-looking farm is best and show that more is needed for the plants and bugs that constitute the building blocks for wildlife.
• A Practical Strategy for Managing Oak Forests
Chris Will, President, Central Kentucky Forest Management
Oak forests have long been recognized as valuable ecosystems. They provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife species and the wood produced from these forests are highly desired by wood-using industries. The forest management challenge is how to harvest and utilize mature trees and regenerate new oak forests for future generations to enjoy. The Oak Shelterwood Method has the potential to meet the challenge but requires both education and patience. I will demonstrate techniques for implementing the Oak Shelterwood Method. I will discuss how to establish vigorous oak reproduction and strategies for moving these seedlings from small trees today to large trees in the future forest. The techniques are practical and easy to apply, and funding sources are available to make it affordable. Will include a description for using imazapyr for improved control of competing vegetation.
• Natural Bank Stabilization Techniques
Oakes Routt, Senior Project Engineer, Stantec Consulting Services
This talk provides a foundation of understanding for the science, why it is important, common indicators of instability, and then briefly covers design and construction of some streambank stabilization methods that have been extremely resilient all across the United States.
Presentation Descriptions – March 23
• Nuisance Deer Management
Dr. Matthew Springer, Assistant Extension Professor of Wildlife Management, University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
White-tailed deer are native herbivores within Kentucky, but their population levels can vary drastically across the state and even at small spatial distances. High populations or heavy localized browsing pressure can cause drastic shifts in both the natural regeneration occurring as well as limiting the success of any planting efforts implemented especially when done at smaller acreages. This talk will cover how to determine if deer may cause an issue in your habitat management plans, multiple strategies to help limit or overcome their impacts, and how to monitor for any potential future problems.
• What’s Wrong with My Oak?
Dr. Ellen Crocker, Assistant Professor of Forest Health Extension, University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Oaks are key forest species, important for everything from wildlife to timber. This session will review some common health problems for oak trees in our area – oak decline, galls, cankers, and more. Learn to distinguish things that look bad but are unlikely to really hurt trees from those that can kill healthy trees.
• Scenarios for Efficient Invasive Plant Control
Jody Thompson, Executive Director, Woods & Waters Land Trust
Invasive plant management is implemented daily across a range of situations. Much of this includes landowners and volunteers who are usually non-professionals practicing without the benefit of on-the-job training and who have limited practice. This talk will demonstrate techniques appropriate to several invasive plant scenarios in forested habitat. This will help guide less-experienced practitioners who may otherwise choose less efficient techniques or attempt techniques that are beyond their capabilities.
Presentation Descriptions – March 30
• Private Land Management: Challenges and Perspective of an Active Landowner
Melanie VanHouten, Founding Director, Josephine Sculpture Park
• Old Field and Edge Habitat Management
Jason Nally, Star Hill Farm Manager, Maker’s Mark Distillery
• Management of Woodland Pools for Amphibian Habitat
Dr. Stephen Richter, Director, Division of Natural Areas and Professor of Biology, Eastern Kentucky University
Over 80% of Kentucky’s natural wetlands have been lost, and wetlands constructed to replace them might not support original hydrologic functions or biological communities. Wetlands that dry periodically are most vulnerable to removal and to replacement with permanent wetlands that function differently. However, these temporary wetlands provide critical resources for particular species of amphibians, plants, and other organisms. This presentation will begin by providing an overview of wetland ecosystems, focused primarily on temporary wetlands and their amphibian residents in Kentucky. This will be followed with recommendations for how to properly manage habitat for woodland pools and describe general guidance on establishing and restoring them.