Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) was recently awarded a grant provided by the “Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund” as recommended by the Legislative‐Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) to restore old farmland, called the “Houston Property” (HP) owned by the MSUM Regional Science Center (RSC) (near Glyndon, MN) and an adjoining former Golf Course (GC) back to native prairie habitat. One main grant objective is to live-trap small mammals to determine species composition, abundances, habitat use, and behaviors before, during, and after restoration. During summer 2015, small mammals were live-trapped on HP and GC to monitor “pre-restoration” populations. A continuation of this study was conducted during summer 2016 during the early stages of the restoration. Grid transect trapping methods were introduced and trapping was conducted from 13th July - 18th August 2016. HP was re-trapped in September as part of the grant to integrate restoration efforts into related college courses
Only deer mice/white-footed mice (Peromyscus spp.) were present on HP early in the 2016 season, likely due to low vegetation cover from restoration efforts. GC yielded higher diversity with many Peromyscus spp., meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), and one eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Later in the season, HP had more vegetation and yielded multiple thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) and one Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus franklinii). This is in stark contrast with our findings in 2015 where GC had very low capture rates and little species diversity, and HP was diverse in small mammal species throughout the summer season.