Notikewin River Watershed Subbasin (07HC) Ungulate Winter Range Restoration Program, 2008-2010


C.Rasmussen and E. Anderson


In response to the effects of wildfire control and the consequences of a lack of natural fire events on the landscape, Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) initiated an ungulate winter range restoration program within the ACA Restoring Natural Habitat for Wildlife project. Prescribed fire and mechanical clearing treatments have been used as part of the program to restore ungulate winter range habitats on landscapes that have aged beyond the natural range of variability, and a monitoring program was developed to evaluate the success of the treatments. The Notikewin River Subbasin (07HC) Ungulate Winter Range Ecosystem Management Plan outlined values, objectives, indicators, and targets to evaluate resource values before and after a series of treatments. This report outlines the monitoring program immediately before and after the Hutton Creek 2 prescribed fire within the Notikewin River subbasin, as well as an initial evaluation of treatment success on landscape-, ecosystem-, and species-level objectives and indicators for ungulate winter range.

The study was conducted along the Peace River corridor in northwestern Alberta, approximately 60 km north of the town of Peace River. Monitoring focused on two spatial scales: the watershed subbasin scale was used to assess landscape-level objectives and the treatment area scale was used to analyze ecosystem- and species-level objectives. Specifically, species-level objectives were evaluated within the dry mixedwood natural subregion at three study sites in the Hutton Creek 2 prescribed fire area: Hutton Creek 2A (HC2A), Hutton Creek 2B (HC2B), and Hutton Creek 2C (HC2C). Monitoring occurred for one year pre-fire (2008) and one year post-fire (2010), thus this report represents an initial assessment of vegetation response and achievement of targets. Future sampling would be required to more adequately evaluate the success of the restoration of ungulate winter range in the Notikewin River watershed subbasin.

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