Weir Farm National Historical Park Receives Funding For Forests, Grasslands

More than $400,000 is being spent at Weir Farm National Historical Park to protect native forests and restore Eastern grasslands/NPS file

Efforts to sustain native forests and restore eastern grasslands are the focus of $410,000 in funding received by Weir Farm National Historical Park in Connecticut.

The funds are part of $195 million the Biden administration has assigned from the Inflation Reduction Act for developing climate restoration and resilience projects over the next decade. National parks across the country will use this funding to prepare for the impacts of climate change, protect species, restore ecosystems, and to invest in conservation jobs.

The projects at Weir Farm are focused on preventing forest loss and restoring Eastern grasslands, according to a park release.

Control Invasive Species in order to Prevent Catastrophic Forest Loss in Northeastern Parks:

In Weir Farm, forests are crucial to the health of ecosystems and surrounding local communities. However, forest health monitoring in Eastern national parks has shown that park forests are rapidly changing and don’t have enough tree regeneration in the form of seedlings and saplings to replace canopy trees as they fall or die. Inflation Reduction Act funds are being used to support the Resilient Forest Initiative through restoration efforts to sustain native forests for future generations.

This project is intended to reverse trends in forest loss and restore resilience to forest ecosystems of high ecological and cultural value in Weir Farm as well as 18 other Northeast national parks. Through strategic invasive plant management and planting of native tree seedlings, park forests should become more resilient to climate change and disturbances, ensuring these forests persist for future generations to enjoy.

Implement Landscape-Scale Restoration of Eastern Grasslands to Improve Ecosystem Health:

Grasslands are crucial habitats that support a diverse array of flora and fauna, playing a fundamental role in maintaining the ecological balance of our planet. Unfortunately, due to various factors including habitat fragmentation and invasive species, many grassland areas are under threat worldwide. Weir Farm is part of a regional, landscape-scale initiative supported by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to restore and protect this critical habitat in parks across the eastern United States.

Weir Farm is embarking on a significant initiative to restore and rehabilitate native grasslands across the Eastern part of the country. This project, in collaboration with the Southeastern Grasslands Institute, will remove invasive species and plant native and climate-adapted species to revitalize and preserve grasslands within the park. The restored grasslands will promote biodiversity, ecological resilience, and cultural landscape integrity.

By restoring and conserving grassland habitats, Weir Farm is not only safeguarding critical ecosystems but also promoting health and well-being in communities by providing enhanced recreation opportunities. This project will directly enhance the ecological value, ecosystem functioning, and climate resilience of grasslands at Weir Farm, and be part of a network of improved grasslands at parks throughout the Eastern United States that will serve as potential seed sources for future restoration efforts. The project supports climate resilience through creation of natural buffers that protect our communities, wildlife, and ecosystems. It will enhance habitat for wildlife, and preserve opportunities to experience the park and its cultural landscape.

“These restoration projects are our highest priority over the next five years. National Park Service scientists, other national parks, and state and local partners are all vital to this effort,” said Superintendent Linda Cook, “especially as we collaborate to address the conservation challenges facing the Northeast.”

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