On October 31, 2014, the Orleans Conservation Trust (OCT) partnered with a group of nine hardworking AmeriCorps Cape Cod(ACC) members at the Namequoit Bog ConservationArea for a full day of habitat restoration and property maintenance. In 1998, the 22.5 acre Namequoit Bog parcel was sold to the OCT with the purpose of preserving open space and wildlife habitats in Orleans. There are approximately 17 acres of wetland—an old cranberry bog with drainage ditches and a sluiceway still evident—and 5.5 acres of upland forest. Since the early 2000’s the Trust has been working to remove overgrown briar species and encourage native freshwater wetland trees, shrubs, sedges, rushes, and grasses to re-establish themselves and inhibit the briar monoculture.
During this project, ACC members along with Kris Ramsay, Director of the OCT, worked on a variety of restoration tasks throughout the day, including cutting down dead Red Maple trees, clear-cutting invasive shrubs, removing invasive vines, and shearing a small pathway along one of the drainage ditches. The area worked in was approximately one acre of bog and a fraction of the upland. Shrubs, vines, and small branches were thrown into several piles near the edge of the upland to be burned at a later date. Larger branches, sections of tree trunks, and stumps were piled up to be moved by a light-tracked loader to the edge of the property, out of the wetland.
Overall, the day was very successful: members worked efficiently and effectively and the bog is that much closer to repopulating with native species and becoming an appealing habitat to bird species and mammals. There was no shortage of wildlife to be seen during the workday. After clearing several standing trees of their mess of invasive vines, downy and hairy woodpeckers instantly explored the unobstructed snag for an insect meal. A female red-winged blackbird was accidentally flushed from her nest in the tall grasses but her mate actively protected the area by aggressively flying around the heads of ACC members as they walked by the area. With time, it is certain the bog will be teaming with many more bird species as well as become a well-traveled throughway for deer, foxes, and coyotes.