In addition to expanding the area of Land Trust properties, a landmark step was taken in terms of their stewardship. The Museum has partnered with the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) to build on the efforts of the Yale interns in 2016 and prepare a “wall-to-wall ecological community map” of our sanctuary areas, which now extend over approximately 350 acres from Stony Beach on the extreme West End to near Wicopesset Channel on the East End, and in two places transect the island from Block Island Sound to Fishers Island Sound.
As part of this study, NYNHP will inventory our various types of habitat, and botanical and zoological species, focusing particularly on rare species of flora and fauna. With respect to fauna, island birds are considered to be reasonably well-documented, but NYNHP will use acoustic detectors to search for rare bats, and will seek to document mice, voles, turtles, frogs and other amphibians, as well as insects. We have asked NYNHP particularly to focus on the consequences of two fairly recent arrivals—coyotes and mink.