Habitat Enhancement in the Williston regional area will compensate for historic losses of moose habitat resulting from: 1) protection of commercial timber from being burned by wildfires and 2) flooding of the Williston Reservoir.
Hunting opportunities in the area are unstable and difficult to attain under the influence of forest succession that occurs in the unnatural spatial and temporal pattern characteristic of industrial timber logging. The logging, by comparison to wildfire, has created a matrix of early seral forests aggregated spatially (low- to mid-elevations) and temporally (defined time periods); the aggregation possibly leading to local fluctuations in moose density; hence availability of game to hunters. Also, moose and their predator wolves now overlap threatened populations of woodland caribou to a greater extent than they would have otherwise. Enhancing moose habitat where caribou naturally occur in only trace amounts is intended to benefit moose with no adverse effect on caribou. The enhancement also offset the intended reduction of moose habitat in other places where it is more important to manage for caribou.
An implementation plan was developed, including monitoring and sampling designs, and ecological characterization of the proposed burn polygons and the landscape. Twenty-five polygons were flown to determine suitability for burning both from an ecological and safety perspective. On the ground sampling, data analysis, burn plans, and prescriptions have been completed for six of these twenty-five polygons, and a prescribed burn was successfully implemented on one polygon in the spring of 2014. Collaborations have been developed with Finlay River Outfitters, SERNbc, and Tsay Keh Dene.
Project funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund.