Restoration of Wood Duck Habitat on Private Lands in Southern New Brunswick, 2016-2017

Project by the SNB Wood Co-operative.

Location: Kings & Queens counties, NB.
Sussex, Hampton,  Belleisle Bay, Alma, Cambridge Narrows and Wickham, NB.

For more information on this project, please contact Jamie Floyd, Forester, Sussex, NB.

Purpose

Our project plan would be to install 50 nesting boxes in 25 locations, plant 1000 red, white, swamp white & bur oak (acorns are the preferred forage for adult wood ducks), to provide future mast crops for food and to enhance the current local vegetation by removing undesirable species (those not beneficial for foraging on) and promoting the desirable species. Nesting boxes will be installed on trees/cedar posts, predator guards will be installed at each box site, planted trees will be caged in areas were beaver chewing or deer browsing are deemed a problem and undesirable vegetation will be removed via thinning saw or chain saw.  Trees will be planted in the spring or fall and the vegetation enhancement will be completed in the summer/fall.  Nesting boxes will be installed in the winter when the areas are frozen, or from a boat in the summer/fall, if possible to do in a safe manner.

Long-term conservation impacts and benefits

Increased wood duck nesting success and the planting of future hard mast producing tree species, will improve duck populations and in the future hunter/observer experiences as well.

New tools, methodologies, landscape practices or protocols

There really aren’t any new tools for this project but just the continuation of some of the well known and successful methods of restoring habitat for wood ducks, or other associated waterfowl to thrive in.  Installation of the wood duck boxes is a proven method of improving nesting site/cavity availability for the ducks.  Planting of a variety of oak trees species that are suited to grow/thrive at each location, will provide future hard mast for the local populations to feed on.  For example, planting swamp white oak trees in very wet locations, as they are adapted and suited to survive under the wet conditions.  The caging of ~ 50% of the trees will prevent the deer, beaver and rabbits from browsing on the trees and thus, increasing their surviveability.  Releasing of the crowns of any hard or soft mast producing trees, will improve their ability to grow productively, produce large healthy crowns and in turn, produce large crops of acorns and other mast for the ducks and local wildlife.

Stewardship

There will be 25 private landowners participating in this project.  We will be providing open house meetings in November/December in our 7 Districts of our SNB Board area.  Each District will have ~7 nests allocated to it to spread out the nests as far as possible and to reach as many landowners as possible.  In the past we have selected the sites before and have found when we hold our annual fall district meetings, many owners wanted to participate but we could not accommodate them. All sites were determined between Nov.-Dec, of 2015.