Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area

Yes
Planning

The Long-Range Management Plan for the Victory Management Unit is being revised and will include climate change considerations. 

Vermont’s landscape contains a diversity of forest types, which provide important wildlife habitat. Just as trees and forests are likely altered as a result of a changing climate, many wildlife species will also be affected. This project considers how anticipated changes in climate may affect wildlife habitat across nearly 5,000 acres of forest and wetland.

Project Location and Partners

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department manages the Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area (WMA), 4,970-acre wetland and forest complex. The basin is home to a diverse array of natural community types, many of which are uncommon throughout the rest of Vermont. The dominant natural community is an extensive lowland spruce-fir forest that encompasses one of the largest deer wintering areas in the state. Many wildlife species are common in the WMA, including white-tailed deer, moose, snowshoe hare, brook trout and numerous types of birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Other less common species are spruce grouse and various boreal birds that are more commonly found farther north.

 

Video courtesy of Vermont Public Television.

In trying to understand how climate change may affect the habitats and species present in this area, natural resource managers considered the potential effects of climate change on one stand within the WMA. This stand is representative of the larger surrounding area and was intended to serve as a starting point to think about how climate change could affect the entire WMA. Managers are concerned that changing climate patterns could lead to a decline in the softwood component of the basin and an increase in hardwood cover.

Climate Change and Victory Basin

During a Forest Adaptation Planning and Practices training, managers considered numerous anticipated effects from climate change. A few impacts stood out as having the greatest potential to impact the area, including

  • A shorter winter season, reduced snowfall, and less consistent snowpack, which could reduce winter operability for forest harvest
  • Reduced soil moisture in summer, which could favor undesirable hardwood regeneration over softwood species
  • More frequent and intense storms, which could lead to tree blowdown
  • Declines in northern and boreal tree species
  • Increases in insect pests and forest pathogens

Adaptation Actions and Project Outcomes

Managers are currently updating the Long-Range Management Plan for large area covering the WMA and adjacent state park and state forest units. As the plan is updated, management actions will be identified that help to meet management goals while also helping to adapt forests to changing conditions.

Current Project Status

Managers are currently writing the Long-Range Management Plan.

Riparian wetland in victory basin. From: http://www.watershedmanagement.vt.gov/wetlands.htm

A view of the Victory Basin Wildlife Management Unit and Victory Basin State Forest. Photo courtesy Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Last updated: April 29, 2014