Conservation at Westmoreland is an ongoing set of projects dedicated to enhancing, restoring, and preventing degradation of the habitats of our native species of plants and animals.

We have dedicated the last 3 summers to our efforts against invasive species of plants and to protecting native plants and flowers.  Most of our focus is in our wildlife management area (WMA).  The WMA consists of 120 acres of mainly sandy floodplain type soils and their associated plant and tree species.   Highlights include; a wet field area, swamp, riparian streams, and sandy uplands.  This unique area is subject to many of the assaults that can be found in our backyards, parks, and open space; such as over browsing from deer, invasive plants and encroachment from suburbia.

Westmoreland has developed a management plan to protect and enhance the entire property.   Thanks to generous grants from the Rusticus Garden Club and Bedford Garden Club, Westmoreland has had college interns each summer to help implement this plan.  Identification and GPS mapping of native species and invasive plant infestations are part of the work, while identifying and removing invasive plants is another area of focus. Examples of native plants protected include, New York Ironweed, Canada Lily, Cardinal Flower, Green-fringed Orchid, Bottle Gentian, and Swamp Milkweed.

A large deer exclosure was erected in 2014 around a section of Mountain Laurel in the Wildlife Management Area.  This will allow staff and students to study regeneration rates and associated environmental services provided by this understory plant.

A high school science research student is currently studying the invasive Rusty Crayfish and GPS mapping the locations of infestation in the Sanctuary.  Currently, the crayfish have been found and removed from our DEC Class AA stream in various locations along the stream.  Monitoring the changes in native fishes and aquatic invertebrates will give us an idea if our efforts are fruitful.

Other areas of our Conservation efforts include Amphibian Rescue Corp, Woodland Pool Monitoring, Breeding Bird Survey, Bird Banding, Deer Management, Butterfly and Dragonfly Survey, and the continued development of a Turtle Nesting Area.

For more information contact Steve Ricker, Director of Conservation and Wildlife Management at sricker@westmorelandsanctuary.org