Prescribed Burn to Improve Wildlife Habitat, Plant Diversity at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve

(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department natural resource managers are planning a 7.7-acre burn on the north shore of Griffy Lake, west of Headley Road. 

The prescribed burn is scheduled to take place between Wednesday, November 6th and June 1, 2020, dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, weather, and moisture levels necessary for safe and successful completion. 

The burn is prescribed to allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor to create better conditions for regeneration of oak and hickory trees, which are currently being shaded out by other species.  Vegetation in the area predominantly consists of beech and maple trees.  According to Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department natural resources manager Steve Cotter, restoration of native oak and hickory trees is desirable for the increased habitat diversity it brings, especially for insects, birds, understory plants, spring ephemerals, and reptiles.

Bloomington Parks and Recreation has contracted with Habitat Solutions Wildlife and Forest Management to conduct the burn.  Parks and Recreation are partnering with the Bloomington Fire Department during the burn to provide fire suppression training opportunities for local firefighters. 

According to Cotter, prescribed fire is an effective tool for managing hardwood forest ecosystems. The low-intensity ground fire will remove invasive and other undesirable plant species, recycle nutrients, and increase habitat diversity.  In addition to the benefits for the ecosystem, prescribed fire is also effective in preventing large wildland fires.

The scheduling of the prescribed fire is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, weather forecast, moisture levels, and other atmospheric conditions necessary for safe and successful completion of the burn. The Griffy Lake Nature Preserve will remain open but the North Shore Trail will be closed to the public during the burn, which will take a day to conduct. For updated information on when the burn will take place, follow the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department on Facebook or call the Parks and Recreation office at 812-349-3700. 

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