Helping Birds Thrive in Rochester

With the population of some grassland bird species on the decline in some areas of Rochester, the Rochester Conservation Commission approved minor maintenance on East Over Reservation that should help birds and other species continue to thrive and flourish there.

Diane Lang, a representative of the Trustees of Reservations, came before the Commission on Tuesday evening to present their plan for the Platt Road site, which will include mowing of some areas of overgrown grass and cutting and maintenance of selected shrubs, with no excavation necessary.

The Commission unanimously approved the work, which will fall within the 100-foot Buffer Zone of bordering vegetated wetlands, and issued a negative Determination of Applicability, which allows the Trustees to proceed with the work without issuing a more detailed engineering plan. The only stipulation included in the approval was that they not work within 25-feet of the wetlands.

The Trustees of Reservations, who according to their website helps to “preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts,” will do the work with funds from a grant that allows them to maintain the property as a habitat for bobolinks, which are declining in numbers due to loss of habitats.

“They’ve disappeared from our [personal] fields, as have the meadowlarks,” said John Teal of the Commission. “They’re a desirable species. [It’s a] bird that is rare and only exists in grasslands.”

Lang said that the project was simply to maintain areas that had become overgrown and therefore threatening to the different species that live there.

“We’re not clear-cutting,” she said, noting that there will be no excavation or disturbances underneath the earth’s surface or any rooting. “There are areas within that that we want to cut back the shrubs and maintain it.”

Lang said they expect to complete the project before the end of the year.

The Commission also approved limited vista pruning for the Rochester Land Trust for their property located on Mary’s Pond Road, which is intended to improve the view of Leonard’s Pond.

As with the aforementioned project, there will be no disturbance to the land itself, and the Commission issued a negative Determination of Applicability, allowing the Land Trust to go forward with the project.

The Commission also discussed the possibility of the installation of a guardrail on the town’s Leonard’s Pond parcel that has just recently been cleared for a small parking area. The issue arose after it was reported that an unidentified well-drilling company’s truck had pumped water from the pond at the site.

“That’s not allowed,” said Chair Rosemary Smith. “You have to come in and request it.”

Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon said that she discussed the issue with the town Highway Surveyor, Jeffrey Eldridge.

By Nick Waleka


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