Effects of Drought on Habitat Restoration Projects

The keyword this past summer for GOSA stewardship volunteers has been rain, or unfortunately, the lack thereof. According to the U. S. Drought Monitor, as of early October, nearly all of Connecticut (98%) is experiencing “severe drought” conditions. Perhaps you have heard that the dry conditions have led to a high level of fire danger and that the wells of many homeowners are running dry.

What you may not have heard is how an organization like GOSA is affected by drought conditions. Beginning in the fall of 2014, and most recently this past spring, GOSA planted hundreds of native grasses, shrubs and trees in selected areas of its Candlewood Ridge and Avery Farm Nature Preserve properties to restore habitat for at-risk wildlife including the New England cottontail. These plants depend on regular rainfall and the dry summers of 2015 and 2016 have meant that GOSA volunteers have had to think quickly and creatively to find a way to water the plants. Firetruck photo at left: Thanks to Fire Chief Derek Fauntleroy and Nathan Shank of the Center Groton Fire Department for their deliveries of water to fill our pools.

Pool photo: GOSA volunteers watering bucket by bucket the nearly 1000 plants installed with funding from of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Long Island Sound Futures Fund and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

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