Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

Grouse and Woodcock Management Area

October 27, 2022

Equipment at work at Daugherty Ridge in the 2012 patch cuts
First entry patch cut in 2012.

Patch Cuts

In November 2022, DLLT will begin the second entry patch cuts in the Daugherty Ridge Grouse and Woodcock Management Area, located 1 mile west of Grand Lake Stream. You may be asking yourself what exactly is a ‘patch cut’? A patch cut is the removal of trees from a relatively small area allowing for the aggressive regeneration of shade-intolerant hardwoods such as aspen and birch. The majority of trees within each patch will be removed, leaving occasional individual trees or clumps consisting of standing dead snags, mast-bearing trees like mature beech and oak, or large coniferous “roost” trees.

Equipment at work at Daugherty Ridge in the 2012 patch cuts
First entry patch cut in 2012

The long-term management plan for Daugherty Ridge is to create and maintain a young forest stand in which 4 separate age classes can be found in close proximity. This 2022 harvest will consist of patches 2-5 acres in size and totaling 31 acres. Patches are created in a mosaic pattern so second entry harvests are adjacent to first entry harvests from 2012. Entries will take place every 10-15 years depending on adequate regeneration in adjacent blocks. Looking ahead at the long-term plan, as long as growth is adequate, the next entry will occur in approximately 2032. See the map at the bottom of the blog for a visual of the plan.

Wildlife

We integrated our timber management and wildlife habitat goals through a “Focus Species Forestry*” planning process. Using Focus Species Forestry, every acre of the community forest is managed to provide habitat for one – or multiple – “Focus Species”. These focus species act as “umbrellas” for the conservation of a range of other wildlife and plant species that have similar habitat needs. Having 3-4 adjacent age classifications of aspen and birch is very important to the overall life cycle of grouse and woodcock for food, nesting, brooding, and mating. While Ruffed Grouse and American Woodcock are the focus of this management area, many other species will benefit too such as moose, deer, and small mammals.

Wildlife have been making use of the first entry cuts. Reports identifying animal species and signs of their use in the area have been returned from the people who are also enjoying the space. Participants in the Forestry Tour on October 6th met with special guest Todd Waldron from the Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society on Daugherty Ridge. Mr. Waldron is the Forest Conservation Director for the Northeast Region. The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is a fiscal partner in this harvest, and the harvest plan was developed with the input of RGS, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Participants got a first-hand look at the old cuts, while discussing the management plan and its benefits for local wildlife.

American Woodcock – Photo from Audubon Society: Rodney Campbell

On October 8th, four youth participated in our Cast & Blast event where they practiced skeet shooting, had a guided bird hunt, and tried out stream fly fishing. The guides and instructors (David Montague, Mike Hegarty, Brian Tripp, and Mike Brunner) helped the youth who were successful in hunting released bobwhite quail and chasing after native American Woodcock and Ruffed Grouse in the managed patch cuts. Even after a long day of being outdoors, the kids were ready to go back out into the woods for more.

What to Expect

A strip of trees will be left along the Fourth Lake Road as a buffer to protect scenic values. The harvest areas will be accessed from Daugherty Ridge Road via the Farm Cove ATV/Snowmobile Trail. The trail will be posted, and ATVs and/or snowmobiles should use caution and travel at slow speeds in this area. Post-harvest, DLLT will coordinate with the Grand Lake Stream ATV Club and Grand Lake Snowmobile Club to restore conditions for motorized recreation in the area.

Branches, tops, and other non-merchantable wood will be arranged as periodic “habitat piles” within the patches to provide cover for birds, small mammals, and other wildlife. Post-harvest condition will be comparable to patches that were harvested in 2012, and rapid regeneration of shade-intolerant hardwoods such as aspen, birch, and red maple is expected.

Through this forestry plan and others like it across the 57,703-acre Downeast Lakes Community Forest, we proudly strive to fulfil our vision to manage wildlife habitat, provide sustainable forest products, and offer outstanding public recreation. Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®!

Daugherty Ridge Patch Cut Map
Map of Daugherty Ridge Management Plan