In 2014, at the urging of the Conservancy, the Essex County Parks Department funded a $5,500 study by ecologist Michael Van Clef , Ph.D., of the 42 SMR forest regeneration sites. These sites were established as part of the 20-year, $1 million forest regeneration program started in 2008. A presentation of the findings and recommendations, funded by the Conservancy, took place March 20, 2015, before representatives of the County Parks Department, local environmental groups, and the Conservancy. We thank the County for funding this comprehensive study and the exceptional work by Michael Van Clef, Ph.D.
The links below are to the study documents and range from the least detailed (the executive summary) to the most exhaustive (the dataset). The Conversancy is using this critical information to direct their plantings and volunteer efforts and launch the IRIS Program, Based on these findings, we strongly encourage the County to expand its annual deer management program. The reservation is clearly not ready for “maintenance mode” culling of the deer population based on the still fragile health of the plant ecology.