Wildlife Management is responsible for maintaining wildlife populations within the Park District through habitat management, reintroductions, management of species of special concern, population control, and general monitoring.
Our habitat management activities are essential for maintaining viable populations of wildlife and include the establishment and maintenance of native plant communities and their associated wildilfe.
Wildlife Management has established programs to help with the reintroduction of native species to the Park District, including Trumpeter Swans and Ospreys.
Management of Species of Special Concern
The Park District conducts management programs to protect species of special concern. For example, the Blanding's Turtle, a State-threatened species, is currently known to inhabit Elm Creek, Crow-Hassan and Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserves. Staff has been studying the populations for the past 20 years to ensure their survival.
Three Rivers Park District is committed to maintaining viable populations of white-tailed deer in its park reserves and some regional parks. However, without control, deer populations increase to the point where they start to damage vegetation and deer/car collisions increase. Archery and shotgun deer hunts and sharpshooters are used to keep populations in balance with available habitat. Park deer herds are counted annually through winter aerial deer surveys conducted by helicopter. See details on deer hunts.
Canada geese have adapted very well to urban environments. The Park District uses summer roundups and special fall hunts to control numbers as needed. The Park District also uses a border collie to chase geese from picnic areas and golf courses. See details on goose hunts.
Beaver ponds provide valuable wildlife habitat for a variety of animals. Occasionally, beavers plug culverts, flood fields and forests, cut trees in recreational areas or cause other damage. The Park District uses private trappers to control beavers as necessary on park property.
Three Rivers Parks conducts annual surveys of songbirds in the parks. Surveys show that generalist species like House Wrens, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, Blue Jays, Song Sparrows and Common Yellowthroats are becoming more common, while grassland species like Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows and meadowlarks are declining and woodland species like Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager and Ovenbird show little change. The parks are going through a period of rapid succession to forests, but the forests have not matured sufficiently yet to be suitable for woodland species of wildlife.
Murphy-Hanrehan remains the best park to see woodland species of birds. Crow-Hassan and Carver are the best locations for open-site species. Purple Martin colonies have been established at Baker National Golf Course, Eagle Lake Golf Course and at the swimming beach at French Regional Park.