Resource Management Activities
Restoration projects on any managed area refer specifically to the restoration of ecosystems, more specifically the restoration of ecosystem functions. Wetlands, for example, perform many functions including floodwater storage, pollution attenuation, groundwater recharge, and providing wildlife habitat. The objective on all managed areas is to restore selected areas to their former condition and function. Types of restoration include:
- Wetland creation and enhancement
- Removal of nuisance exotic plants and animals
- Upland rehabilitation
- Re-introduction of fire into fire-dependent natural communities
Prior to their purchase as environmental properties, the lands were managed for different goals including cattle grazing, timber operations, orchards, and future land development. Prescribed burning for grazing was typically done in the winter and often not conducted at all on lands set aside for logging or future development. The consequence of these actions was a reduction in the diversity of native species.
Fires naturally occur in summer, often resulting from lightning strikes. Long-term suppression of summer fires transforms ecosystems into a condition for which the native flora and fauna are not well adapted. One of the goals is to reintroduce fire into fire-dependent ecosystems during the growing season.
Prescribed burns are applied in two phases: the initial "fuel reduction" phase and the maintenance "ecological burn" phase. Fuel reduction burns often occur in the winter when fuels are less volatile and the fire is easier to control. Ecological burns typically occur in the summer and mimic natural fire conditions.