DEM biologists will begin brush cutting, mowing, and removing invasive plants at the field outlined in red at Beavertail State Park within the next two weeks, weather permitting. / DEM photo

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has announced brush cutting, mowing, and removing invasive plants at management areas and state lands across Rhode Island now through March.

According to a press release from DEM, biologists from DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife are directing the work as part of the DEM’s ongoing efforts to maintain and enhance wildlife habitats at upland sites including grasslands, shrublands, and old fields. DEM conducts habitat management work every winter to control invasive species and other woody plants. If left untouched, these species would overtake the native areas and eventually turn them into forested habitat. Habitat management helps maintain a diversity of habitats in a predominantly forested landscape. This helps sustain populations of plants and wildlife.  

At Beavertail State Park, a two-acre field in the northern, undeveloped section of the park that has become overgrown with woody, invasive shrubs will be mowed next month. This area has typically been mowed every other year. Grassland habitats support American woodcock, Eastern box turtle, Monarch butterfly, and many birds including the Northern harrier, as well as rare plants and invertebrates such as Sandplain gerardia and Tiger beetles. A walking path is located around the perimeter of the field. 

Habitat management activities also are being conducted this winter at several other management areas including Buck HillCarolina, and Great Swamp to maintain open upland sites as largely herbaceous fields. Mechanical treatment by brush mowing is the primary method employed, although single-tree and single-shrub selection using hand tools is sometimes employed to limit woody encroachment along field edges. Brush mowing and cutting occurs during the winter months when disturbance to wildlife and soil resources is minimal. DEM’s habitat restoration team mows about 200 acres annually. Equipment used to carry out the restoration work includes skid steer machines with mowing implements, four-wheel drive tractors with side-mounted attachments, and conventional tractor-mounted brush mowers.

For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.