Controlled burn planned at Schoonover 4.15.09

Written by David Green.

The grass grows tall. The fire sweeps through. The growth returns and a healthy prairie is maintained.

It’s an age-old story on the prairies of America and it’s a story that will be played out during the next month at the Schoonover Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) in Seneca Township.

Grasslands at the 95-acre preserve will be burned, when weather permits, between now and May 15 by personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Schoonover WPA is located at the intersection of Canandaigua and Medina roads. The property was last burned in 2004.

Controlled burns aid native prairies and marshes by discouraging shrubs and trees from establishing and helping warm season grasses to germinate. Fire also helps manage a balance between open water and wetland plants in marsh areas.

The burn also eliminates years of built-up dead vegetation that could increase the risk of a wildfire.

The property was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in 1991 and contains 34 acres of grassland, 53 acres of wetlands and eight acres of upland woods. Prairie grasses were planted in the late 1990s.

As the name implies, the waterfowl production area was established to produce ducks. The site is open to the public for activities including environmental education, photography, hiking and wildlife observation.

There are no restricted seasons at the preserve, but human activity could be disruptive to nesting birds.

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