Excluding the Deer

On August 19, 2015, eight hammer-wielding CWC supporters converged at the Kabana Preserve at the Hall’s Lake Natural to hang, stretch and nail fencing for the deer exclosure demonstration project.

This long-term project, partially funded by a Community Action Mini-grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative (WIN), and partially supported by individual contributors, is intended to show how the native seed bank will come back when protected from an over-population of deer, so we are not planting anything within the protected area.

We expect that it will take years to see a truly dramatic return of the forest understory in the area we are protecting from deer browsing, but we will be monitoring.

Dr. Doug Valek, project leader, put many, many hours into the effort, and with the help of a host of other volunteers, we are now essentially finished, with the exception of plans to add a cable across the top of the posts to help absorb shock from any falling tree that might come down in the future. The exclosure must withstand a deer attempting to run through the fencing, be high enough to prevent jumping over it, and able to handle all but the largest trees falling on it. The site, visible from the two-track beginning at the Old State Road/Broomfield Road intersection, will show visitors over time a dramatic difference between the vegetation found within the protected area and the surrounding forest. Because this is a long-term project, we placed a log within the exclosure area and began what will be a routine photographic documentation of changes over the years, with future pictures to be taken from the same location. Not only will we be seeing the growth of new vegetation, but we will also see nature’s recycling take place over time as the log decomposes.

We will be featuring a visit to this site, and an explanation of its purpose and progress often over the next several years.

Thanks to Frank Hufnagel, Kathy Johns, Dr. Valek, Larry Schaftenaar, Adonna Kennedy, Joan Loveland and James Simmons for helping out with this phase of construction.