This site includes the 968-acre Indian River Wildlife Management
Area (WMA), administered by NYS DEC, and many privately owned
lands. The site extends from Indian River WMA in the south to Black
Lake in the north and west to Crooked Creek and Chippewa Creek.
The site is a large, diverse area with several lakes and many streams
and rivers. The extensive acreage of farmland abandoned 25-30 years
ago is now undergoing succession and provides valuable habitat for
grassland and shrub birds. According to the NY GAP land cover
data, approximately 65% of the site is shrub/scrub and open habitats,
which include cropland, old field/pasture, shrub swamp, successional
hardwood, and successional shrub land. There are smaller areas of
wooded wetlands, grasslands, and active farmland.
This area contains a variety of wetland as well as agricultural areas,
shrub land, and forest. The shrub and grassland habitats support
characteristic breeding species. At-risk species that breed here include
the Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Osprey (four
pairs), Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Whip-poor-will, Sedge Wren
(four pairs), Golden-winged Warbler (20-30 pairs), and Cerulean
Warbler (four pairs).
Golden-winged Warblers have benefited from the large amount of
shrub habitat found at this site, which needs to be managed for this
species. Development of a plan to work with private landowners to
enhance and manage early and mid-successional habitats should be a
priority. Potential residential development on higher lands adjoining
Chippewa Creek could affect water flow and quality. The Indian
River Lakes Conservancy is working on protecting land in this area.
Inventory and monitoring, particularly of at-risk species, are needed.