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Catamount Forest Management Plan (addendum to the approved 2018 plan)

On July 28, 2020 the Selectboard adopted a Forest Management Plan for the Catamount Community Forest, drafted by Chittenden County Forester Ethan Tapper.  The Plan provides detailed recommendations for the management of the CCF's forests for the next 10 years and serves as an addendum (not replacement) to the previously approved Catamount Community Forest's 2018 Management Plan. The plan, Executive Summary, presentation about the plan, and plan maps are available via the links at the bottom of this page.

Below are the projects completed to date and there are more to come!

September 2023 Forest Management Work

A forest management project was completed in the north-west section of the property north of the powerlines - see the yellow shaded area in the map below.

Thank you to the public and COFC for helping us make this project so successful!

There are answers to Frequently Asked Questions linked here

Outreach started in summer and fall of 2022 when signage was put up in the forest to explain what the project will involve and the benefits it will deliver and community walks were held. We have installed new signage in the forest so that people can find out all about the project. If you want to view the signs you can read them here

The project is a partnership between the CCF, the Chittenden County Forester, and the University of Vermont as part of a long term research study called Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC). The project involves managing a 25-acre area of the CCF, with a control in an adjacent area at the CCF and replication on UVM’s Talcott Woods (directly to the south of the CCF). The work is coupled with extensive research with a number of UVM researchers. 

In addition to research, the project will help make this area of the CCF more resilient to climate change, provide more diverse wildlife habitat, provide local renewable resources (wood), provide revenue that can be used to address forest health concerns elsewhere on the CCF (primarily non-native invasive plants) and demonstrate responsible forest management to the public. The project and outreach around it will be managed by the Chittenden County Forester, in partnership with the CCF Committee.

You can learn more about this exciting project by visiting the story map here: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories

To learn more about the work visit the Chittenden County Forester link tree and his youtube channel.

The project area is shown below:



January 2021 Forest Management Work

This was the first step in the implementation of the Forest Management Plan. A project to improve wildlife habitat in Stand 13 (north of Governor Chittenden Rd and south of the powerline) occurred January 2021 funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. The project was developed and supervised by USFWS, the Chittenden County Forester (Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation), Audubon Vermont and the Vermont Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Why did we do this work?

The main goal was to create “early successional’ or “young forest” habitat. This type of habitat, which is created when a large-scale disturbance occurs in the forest, is extremely valuable to many species of wildlife and critical to several, including ruffed grouse and American woodcock. This is also a habitat which is under-represented on Vermont’s landscape compared to historical levels.

Within the project area efforts were made to create pockets of “shrubland” habitat. This habitat is critical for the golden winged warbler, a bird species of concern and a focus of extensive habitat improvement and conservation efforts by Audubon Vermont. Additional areas of Catamount are scheduled to be managed for golden winged warblers at a later date.

A secondary goal is to control invasive exotic plant infestations at the Catamount Community Forest. Several species of invasive exotic plants, most notably common buckthorn, shrub honeysuckle, multiflora rose and Japanese barberry, are established on the parcel. The grinding targeted these species, and additional funding from USFWS allowed for the treatment of invasives that re-sprout following grinding.

How did we do it?

The project was completed by a “brontosaurus” – a heavy-duty grinder head mounted on the body of an excavator. The “bronto” ground trees and shrubs, especially invasive exotic plants like buckthorn, honeysuckle, and unhealthy trees of a variety of species. It occurred in two areas, a 1-acre patch and a 5-acre patch. The result was intentionally “messy” with trees, tree tops, branches and wood lying on the ground. This was intentional! These features are critical to providing habitat to a wide range of wildlife on the site.

How can I learn more?

You can learn more about this exciting project by visiting the story map here: https://arcg.is/mfyWG

You can also watch a recorded webinar on the project here: https://youtu.be/yg-lUANvPRk

To be kept informed of opportunities to learn more about this and other projects, sign up for the Chittenden County Forester’s email list, here: https://vermont.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=58398f7a782118e355bf99377&id=58d2751d34    

What’s next?

The management of the Catamount Community Forest is part a growing network of demonstration projects on town-owned forests in Chittenden County, including recent projects at the Hinesburg Town Forest and LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest in Hinesburg, and an ongoing project at the Andrews Community Forest in Richmond. You can learn more about the project at the Hinesburg Town Forest in by reading a “story map” of the project, here: https://arcg.is/0HqzTW0.

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