DEEP: CT DEP Announces New England Cottontail Workshop on April 15, 2011

April 7, 2011
CT DEP Announces New England Cottontail Workshop on April 15, 2011
Part of DEPís Earth Day Celebration

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as part of its Earth Day Celebration, will hold a New England Cottontail Workshop on Friday, April 15, 2011, from 8:30AM-12:30 PM, at the Sessions Woods Conservation Education Center, in Burlington. The workshop is free and open to the public, particularly private landowners, members of land trusts and conservation organizations.

Registration begins at 8:30 AM and workshops begin at 9:00 AM. Following the workshops, participants will drive to Roraback Wildlife Management Area in Harwinton where DEP Wildlife Division biologist Peter Picone will lead a tour of a demonstration site that highlights New England cottontail management activities and associated management equipment.

The workshop focuses on a new regional initiative to restore habitat for the New England cottontail, a candidate species for listing under the federal Endangered Species List. The DEP Wildlife Division, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are partners in this initiative. Once common throughout the region, the New England cottontailís historic range has been reduced by over 80%.

"Connecticut plays a unique role in the restoration effort because, of all the New England states, our state continues to support the most significant proportion of the remaining New England cottontail population. Efforts at restoring habitat may preclude the need for this species to be federally listed. Government agencies, however, cannot accomplish this alone," said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEP Wildlife Division. "Managing only state-owned lands will not provide enough of the habitat needed to restore this species. It is, therefore, critical that private landowners, including land trusts, conservation organizations, and other land managers become involved."

Workshop presentations will include:

  • Forest Landscape History of Connecticut Ė Highlighting Early Successional Habitat and Association Species by Jane Seymour of the DEP Wildlife Division
  • Status of New England Cottontail Initiative Programs and Funding Opportunities to Involve Landowners in Habitat Management Projects by Paul Rothbart of the DEP Wildlife Division
  • The DEPís Landowner Incentive Program by Judy Wilson of the DEP Wildlife Division
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Programs by Nels Barrett of NRCS.

Pre-registration for the workshop is requested, but not required. To pre-register, call the Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130, Monday-Friday, from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM. Inquiries about the workshop can be directed to DEP Wildlife Habitat Program Supervisor Paul Rothbart at 860-295-9523. The Sessions Woods Conservation Education Center is located at 341 Milford Street (Route 69) in Burlington.