Examining the Feasibility of New England Cottontail Habitat Management

(l to r) Jack Berlanda and Paul Rothbart (CT DEEP Wildlife Div. Habitat Unit)
 speak with Lukas Hyder (WMF Forester) during a visit to a potential
 New England Cottontail habitat management site.  

The New England Cottontail (NEC) Initiative Team from the CT DEEP, Wildlife Division Habitat Unit visited the property today to explore the feasibility of managing habitat on the White Memorial Foundation.  The Team consisted of Paul Rothbart (Habitat Biologist), Lisa Wahle (Project Wildlife Specialist), and Jack Berlanda (Project Forester).  Several ideas were discussed including current management plans, invasive species management options, and NEC population monitoring.  The NEC is our only native cottontail rabbit in New England and is declining due to habitat loss/change and expanding Eastern Cottontail populations.  Eastern Cottontails were introduced to Southern New England for many years for hunting opportunities and adapt quickly to backyard habitats.  White Memorial Foundation property lies within a NEC Initiative Focus Area, where we can offer areas of suitable habitat larger than 25 acres for NEC conservation.  NEC requires large early successional habitats with high woody stem density.

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