Bloomington Parks and Recreation natural resource managers oversaw a nine-acre prescribed burn near the Lake Griffy Dam on Thursday, aimed at fostering the regeneration of oak and hickory trees and promoting overall forest health.
According to a press release from the City of Bloomington, the controlled burn was designed to increase sunlight penetration to the forest floor, creating optimal conditions for the growth of native oak and hickory trees. Steve Cotter, Parks and Recreation natural resources manager, emphasized the importance of restoring these native forests, noting their role in supporting diverse insect populations crucial to local food chains. Additionally, he highlighted their resilience to climate change, citing their ability to withstand increasing temperatures and drought conditions.
Habitat Solutions Wildlife and Forest Management oversaw the prescribed burn, recognizing its effectiveness in managing hardwood forest ecosystems. The low-intensity ground fire serves multiple purposes, including the removal of invasive and undesirable plant species, nutrient recycling, and the enhancement of habitat diversity.
In addition to ecological benefits, prescribed fires play a pivotal role in mitigating the risk of larger wildland fires.
The Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, where the burn took place, will be closed to the public during the upcoming deer hunt weekends on Nov. 18-19 and Dec. 2-3. Closure begins at 11 p.m. the Friday before each hunt and lasts until 5 a.m. the Monday after.
During these weekends, only hunters who have applied and been selected are permitted to participate in the hunt at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. The preserve remains closed to public hunting, ensuring a controlled environment for the annual deer hunts.
The primary goal of these hunts is to manage deer populations within the preserve, reducing browse pressure on understory plants and seedling trees. By doing so, the city aims to facilitate the recovery and reproduction of these crucial plant species within the preserve.
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