BRADFORD, PA – April 27, 2018 – Members of the Allegheny Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) are working hard to finish the planning for an intensive habitat project on Collins Pine Company lands encompassing a Seneca Resources Marcellus shale drill site and impoundment area. Collins Pine Company foresters and Seneca Resources oil and gas engineers are working directly with the local Allegheny RGS chapter and Dr. Linda Ordiway, RGS Regional Biologist, in developing a plan to revegetate the reclaimed site.
“We will have many more of these well sites to revegetate in the future and we want to turn these sites into a productive wildlife habitat component of the surrounding forest,” said Mike Hancharick, GIS expert for Seneca Resources. “This is the first one we are working on and it’s a chance for us to learn how to improve the other sites.”
All reclaimed sites are revegetated with grasses and forbs per Department of Environmental Protection to reduce erosion potential, but here is an opportunity to really make a difference for forest wildlife. Dr. Ordiway has determined that the weak link in the surrounding forest is a lack of soft mast for fall and winter foods. The Allegheny Chapter, Collins Pine Company, and Seneca Resources will be working to increase that missing food source on the reclaimed site. “We, the RGS, appreciate the opportunity to improve habitat for wildlife on Collins Pine Company lands because Collins keeps their lands open for public hunting, and we support that approach from a private company,” said Dr. Ordiway, RGS Regional Biologist.
All parties are contributing where their ‘strengths’ lie. Seneca Resources will be fencing the nine-acre site to prevent deer browsing on newly planted shrubs and trees. Seneca has already used their drone to help map the site. Collins Pine Company foresters have already initiated a “feather” cut along the edge of the former impoundment in order to soften the abruptness of going from an open area to tall trees in the adjacent forest. Feathered areas have more use by wildlife. The Allegheny Chapter members met with the two companies this week and laid out planting arrangements and determined species of shrubs and trees to plant on the site. Now that the shrub types and layout on the site has been mapped, the RGS Allegheny Chapter will look for funding to complete the project.
“We want to be able to work with local contractors to do this project,” said Dr. Ordiway. “Our local RGS volunteers do a lot of habitat work around north central PA, and we’d like to be able to buy and contract with local businesses so we can have this entire project benefit local wildlife and economies.”
The Ruffed Grouse Society was founded in 1961 to promote and increase awareness of young forest management and to maintain suitable habitat that supports healthy populations of ruffed grouse, woodcock, deer and many songbird species that depend on forest diversity to survive and prosper.