Biodiversity Management Plan

Table of Contents


Executive Summary


Background Information

Research Question







Research Team


Sedge Wren
It is likely that the site provides enough suitable habitat for the Sedge Wren. About half of the approximately 184 acres of pasture is appropriate breeding habitat for this species; the other half, below the creek, is too closely grazed (to .25 inches) to be of use. The 27 acres of reverting pasture may still be of use due to its complex structure and appropriate height, but some management will need to occur before it becomes too heavily wooded. The presence of the wetland, in close proximity to the pasture, will benefit this species. The site could likely support over thirty pairs of breeding Sedge Wrens, based on the Illinois estimate.

Grasshopper Sparrow
Due to the Grasshopper Sparrow’s preference for grasslands that are continuously undergoing change, it is suited to both pasture types situated on the site. These are primarily the regular pasture, which is approximately 74.5 hectares, and the reverting pasture, which is approximately 10.9 hectares. The Grasshopper Sparrow is at the northern edge of its range on the site, it is therefore not likely that numerous breeding pairs would naturally occur here. Thus 74.5 plus 10.9 hectares should suffice to allow a viable population of the Grasshopper Sparrow on the site.

Short-eared Owl
The site has 184 acres of pasture, which are likely to provide essential habitat for the Short-eared Owl during its breeding period. The 27 acres of reverting pasture may possibly be of use to this species, providing that the vegetation is not too tall and that it contains a sufficient amount of prey. The rail bed may possibly serve as habitat during the non-breeding season, as it is similar to gravel pit and quarry environments that have been documented as being used by this species. Therefore there is approximately 222 acres of habitat, which may be adequate to meet the needs of the Short-eared Owl.

Golden Eagle
Since there is no known size requirement for the Golden Eagle as concerns its habitat, it is difficult to say whether the site meets this requirement. The open pasture, with the possible exception of the overgrazed lower pasture, supports a number of small mammal species suitable for prey (e.g. rabbits and small rodents). In the lower pasture cattle are currently grazed at a high level of impact, and they are likely outcompeting the Golden Eagle’s prey species. Thus the Golden Eagle may be limited on the site by an inability to meet nutritional needs.

Red-headed Woodpecker
Due to the broad habitat scope of the Red-headed Woodpecker, the site has many diverse habitats suitable for this species. The Red-headed Woodpecker is likely best suited for the second growth forest (approx. 23 hectares), requiring at least 2 hectares per breeding pair. This is more than a reasonable amount of space, as it is unlikely that many Red-headed Woodpeckers would be naturally found in the area. The site is at the northern edge of this species’ range.

Rufous-sided Towhee
While the site could meet the requirements of the Rufous-sided Towhee, the site is unlikely to support a population of this species. The farm is located north of the species’ breeding range; so while the species may inhabit the site, it is not within its natural range on the site. Recent and future climate change could extend the range of the Rufous-sided Towhee to include the site, but this is not certain.

Wild Turkey
The second growth forest on the site is potentially suitable habitat type for the Wild Turkey. It is near reverting pasture, which would provide summer and feeding grounds, and water (there are both a pond and a creek near or within the forest). However, the forest is approximately 57 acres, or less than ten percent of the home range of male and female Wild Turkeys. The forest on the site could not support a healthy population of Wild Turkeys on its own, and this species is unable to migrate long distances in search of additional habitat. The landowners have not seen Wild Turkeys here recently (personal communication, 2002), so it can be concluded that their potential use of this site is low.

Western Chorus Frog
The site has 27 acres of wetlands, 6 acres of pond, and 62 acres of flood plains, all of which could serve as breeding grounds for the Western Chorus Frog. The site also has 57 acres of second growth forest and 27 acres of reverting pasture, which could serve as habitat for the species during the non-breeding season. Therefore, there are in total 179 acres that could serve as suitable habitat for the Western Chorus Frog.


A floral inventory of the site noted the presence of 390 species (Hall, 2000). Of interest in this management plan are 14 flora species present on the property that are of special concern because they are rare on global, national, and/or provincial levels. The Nature Conservancy (United States) and associated network of Natural Heritage Programs rate the species endangerment based on five levels of global rarity (i.e. G1, G2, G3, etc.), national rarity (N1, N2, etc.), and state/provincial rarity (S1, S2, etc.). The number stands for conservation priority - 1 being the least critical and 5 being the most critical.
None of the 14 flora species are listed as very critical (S5) on a provincial level. Purple Oat is included for completeness, even though it has been removed from the list. Wild Leek is the only flora species that has a vulnerable status. The remaining flora species, except Purple Oat, are susceptible to being designated threatened or vulnerable in the future due to their global and provincial conservation rank.
Since the 1999 flora inventory, Purple Oat (Schizachne purpurascens var. pubescens) has been removed from the list of threatened or vulnerable plants (MEQ, 2002). Of the remaining 13 species, all have a global status of 5, except for the sedge Carex backii, which has a global status of 4.

The conservation status of the following 13 flora species is very critical on a global scale. The national status of these 13 species is not listed in the reference prepared by the Ministère de l'Environnement du Québec:
Black Maple (Acer nigrum), Golden Corydalis (Corydalis aurea), Northern Watermeal (Wolfia borealis), Watermeal (Wolfia columbiana), Blue Satin Sedge (Carex platyphylla), Bur-reed Sedge (Carex spaganiodies), Hitchcock’s Sedge (Carex hitchcockiana), Oval-leaf Sedge (Carex cephalaphora), Pallatorrey’s Bullrush (Schoenoplectus torreyi), Rock Elm (Ulmus thomassii), Back’s Sedge (Carex backii), White Oak (Quercus alba), Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum).

© 2002 McGill Shool of Environment
McGill University
3534 University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7