Perryville Battlefield returns to native grass in an effort to restore wildlife

Published 8:25 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

News Release 
PERRYVILLE— Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, which will host thousands of Civil War re-enactors and guests Oct. 8-9 as part of the re-enactment of the Battle of Perryville, is participating in a project aimed at restoring native species and returning the land to the way it looked in 1862.
 Several park organizations have formed a partnership to improve the habitat for Bobwhite quail and other species by converting fescue to native grasses and wildflowers on 625 acres at the park.
 “The fescue’s thick mat makes it extremely difficult for many small animals, such as turkey and quail chicks to move through,” said Terri Brunjes, a wildlife biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “On the other hand, native grass grows in clumps, leaving bare dirt in between.  This allows animals to traverse these fields easily, while overhead cover conceals them from predators.”
 The fescue was treated with herbicide and replanted with native grass and wildflowers. The native grass will take approximately two years to become established. Therefore, there may be dead or yellowed grass at this year’s re-enactment.
 Quail numbers have decreased because of loss of habitat. The project will help increase quail numbers as well as other birds, deer, turkey, rabbits and pollinator species, such as monarch butterflies. In addition to the Civil War history, Perryville Battlefield will also become a wildlife viewing and birding area.
 In addition to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the other partners in this project are the Kentucky Department of Parks, Friends of Perryville Battlefield, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Civil War Trust.
 Private landowners with property near the battlefield can also participate. Property owners adjacent to Perryville Battlefield who are interested in improving land for wildlife, should contact KDFWR Private Lands Biologist, Joe Lacefield at (859) 879-8411 or email at or NRCS District Conservationist Brandon Campbell at (859) 734-6889.
The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky that took place in 1862. A program on the quail habitat restoration program will be presented on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m. at the program tent as part of the weekend events.
For more information about Perryville Battlefield and the Oct. 8-9 re-enactment weekend,

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