Pa. game commission announces Ford Island habitat initiative

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FRANKLIN, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Game Commission is planning a habitat improvement project on Ford Island, just off Linesville-Hartstown Road.

The Game Commission’s Pymatuning Wildlife Learning Center is on the 25-acre island.

“Natural forest regeneration has been almost nonexistent at this site due to competition with invasive species such as tartasian honeysuckle, multi-flora rose, bittersweet, and grapes,” said Jerry Bish, Game Commission Land Management Group supervisor, who will oversee the initiative.

The project is designed to remove these species with a large mechanized brush cutting machine; followed with herbicide treatment through the use of a large log skidder-type machine. Some hand cutting and herbicide application will be necessary as well.

“The effect will be immediate and highly visible,” Bish said. “The result will be a very open understory with little undergrowth. New growth will not take place until the spring of 2012.”

Deer deterrent fence may be required to protect the newly regenerating forest, he added.

This project is being funded in part by federal Pittman Robertson (PR) funds, which are derived through a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. Funds are then dispersed back to the states for various wildlife management projects.

Bish said the area will begin to see a response to this management technique as early as 2013.

Mechanized cutting already started, and herbicide treatment will occur Sept. 19 and 20. Public access will be restricted to the area for 48 hours after herbicide application.

The Pymatuning Wildlife Learning Center will close for the season at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18.

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