Washington Grove’s Forest Preserve is a diverse, multi-storied, self-sustaining ecology of native trees, shrubs and plants.
Its hallmarks are a full canopy, a succession of native trees and a wide variety of native plants at every level of the forest. As a vibrant ecosystem it supports native plant species and habitat for native animal communities, continuously enhances the soil, and resists the invasion of non-native species.
FOREST PRESERVATION PRESENTATION
We invited experts for guidance as we continue to move forward with our three-pronged approach to restoring the health of the East and West Woods. Invited speakers were Mr. Bill Hamilton, Natural Resources Manager of the Montgomery County Deer Management Program and Mr. Jonathan Kays, Natural Resources Specialist and Forester, University of Maryland Extension – Western Maryland Research & Education Center, who shared their expertise and experiences in deer population management, forest health, and invasive plant control.
The meeting included presentations by the Woods Committee and the invited speakers followed by discussion with the town residents who attended.
Woods Committee Mission
The Woods Committee is charged with following the Forest Stewardship Plan which was approved and adopted by the Town of Washington Grove in December 2015. This plan takes an integrated approach to forest health restoration and management of the town’s Forest Preserve which encompasses both the East and West Woods. The plan is intended to prevent further degradation of the Forest Preserve, to offer a roadmap for restoring and preserving it as a healthy, self-sustaining forest ecosystem, and to help ensure that its benefits are available to future generations.
Actions supporting the Mission include:
- minimize over-browsing by deer
- remove and control the spread of non-native invasive plants
- plant native trees to fill holes in the canopy and reforest open areas
- proactively protect native trees at all stages of growth to rebuild the natural succession
- re-establish a healthy mid- and understory through regrowth and replanting
- protect existing tree canopy, reforested areas, sensitive plant and animal habitats and other high-priority areas through education, signage and, if necessary, physical barriers
- protect sensitive areas—federal and state-designated wetlands, streams and their buffers, 100-year flood plains, habitats of threatened and endangered species, and steep slopes—from the adverse effects of development and over-use
- preserve the natural quiet and unique forest auditory experience which includes the presence of birdsong, movement in leaf litter, wind through trees and other woodland sounds as well as the absence of man-made noise pollution from motors and active recreation
Benefits of a Healthy Town Forest Preserve
- Improves air quality and moderates temperature
- Provides protected habitat for plants and wildlife in a region of diminishing habitat. Protection includes quiet for breeding and nesting, walkways that avoid nesting and breeding sites, and a healthy mid-story which many birds require.
- Prevents erosion and water quality degradation of the headwaters of 3 significant waterways.
- As a place of quiet, beauty, inspiration and sanctuary, it enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors and offers opportunities for passive recreation, exploration and discovery throughout the year
- It is an important part of the town’s identity (A Town within a Forest), a contributing factor to the Washington Grove experience, and a setting that, in all likelihood, adds to the value of homes in town
- Provides natural buffer from surrounding development.