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- 3,000 ACRES OF FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT PROTECTED IN FY 11
- MIGRATORY GAME BIRD SEASONS SET, HUNTERS MUST GET HIP
- ANTLERLESS DEER AND BEAR PERMIT UPDATES
- PUBLIC INPUT NEEDED FOR A STATEWIDE OUTDOORS SURVEY
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS AND HEARING
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
3,000 ACRES OF FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT PROTECTED IN FY 11
Just over 3,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat were protected by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) in the past fiscal year (July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011) for a total investment of $7,913,700. These acquisitions were distributed across the Commonwealth, with 46 projects completed in 34 towns. These new lands bring the total amount of Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) currently under the care and control of MassWildlife and DFG to over 190,000 acres. Benefitting both wildlife and people, WMAs are open to fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife observation, boating, hiking, and other passive wildlife-related recreation. A listing by town of all newly acquired FY 2011 properties can be found on the DFW website.
Through the land acquisition program, DFG and MassWildlife seeks to protect wildlife diversity by acquiring the most important fish and wildlife habitat and natural communities and to provide public access to the lands and waters of the Commonwealth. The agency's holdings stretch from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands. Maps for many WMAs are posted on the DFW website. Boating and fishing access ramp information may be found at: www.mass.gov/dfwele/pab/index.htm.
"We truly appreciate the conservation leadership and funding provided by Governor Patrick and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "I would also like to thank our conservation partners and the entire land team at DFG and MassWildlife who worked so hard to protect some of the most critical habitats in the Commonwealth that will benefit the people of Massachusetts and our wildlife in perpetuity."
"This past fiscal year was marked by a combination of targeted projects, opportunistic purchases, and philanthropic support. In addition, donations of land and easements were a significant part of this year's habitat protection efforts," said Craig MacDonnell, MassWildlife's Realty Chief. "With substantial assistance provided by the non-profit community, municipalities, and many private donors, over 500 acres of habitat were protected at no cost to the state. In light of the challenges presented by the current economy, we are thankful for this remarkable generosity of spirit."
The Western District completed eight acquisitions and protected a total of 715 acres. The most notable conservation effort in this district was the completion of the first two (of three) phases of the acquisition of Maple Hill Farm in West Stockbridge, a long-sought target for protection. These transactions conserved 290 acres of magnificent fish and wildlife habitat, including a pristine pond and wetland complex that will be known as the Flat Brook WMA. The Berkshire Natural Resources Council was an invaluable partner on this project and brought significant private funding to the table.
Three projects were completed in the Connecticut Valley District protecting a total of 155 acres. An important project in this district was the acquisition of 26 acres along the Ware River in Ware, including 2,400 feet of frontage along the western bank. This river frontage is important habitat for five state-listed invertebrates. Anglers and other river users will also benefit from this acquisition as access to this section of the Ware River historically has been a challenge. The East Quabbin Land Trust was a helpful, facilitating partner on this project.
The Central District completed 14 acquisitions in 10 municipalities for a total of 1,170 protected acres. The most noteworthy conservation effort in the district was the addition of several parcels in the Winchendon section of the Miller's River WMA. The combined acreage totaled 423 acres. This acquisition provides substantial protection to a pristine and unique wetland/level bog/pond complex encompassing Lake Jones and Lake Sal.
In the Northeast District, 14 projects conserving almost 500 acres were completed. Although it was not the largest parcel acquisition in the Northeast District, the 24.5-acre Scotland Road purchase in Newbury protected a key piece of land originally slated for intensive residential development. At risk was a parcel bounded on three sides by the 1,657-acre Martin Burns WMA. With the financial support of the Essex County Greenbelt Association and a very generous local sportsman, Jim LeBoeuf, Jr. of Northern Ocean Marine, Inc., DFG acquired the land and secured this virtual inholding from a development project that would have precluded hunting on a significant portion of the WMA. A combination of bond capital and Wildland Stamp funding were also utilized for this important acquisition.
In the Southeast District, seven land conservation projects involving
a total of 500 acres in six towns were completed. In this district,
a146-acre project for the Haskell Swamp WMA containing a pristine Atlantic
White Cedar Swamp was concluded in Mattapoisett. Visitors to this area
will enjoy the cathedral-like forest and may hear a barred owl calling.
As a result of this most recent purchase, the Haskell Swamp WMA now
protects over 3,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat. The Haskell
Swamp WMA has nearly doubled in size since the initial acquisition from
the Acushnet Saw Mills Company in 1997 with subsequent acquisitions
from 14 different landowners.
MIGRATORY GAME BIRD SEASONS SET, HUNTERS MUST GET HIP
On Thursday, August 25, 2011, the Fisheries and Wildlife Board held
a public hearing in Newbury. Immediately following the hearing, the
Board voted on regulations establishing the 2011-2012 migratory game
bird seasons, bag limits, and methods of take. Migratory
game bird regulations and a map outlining waterfowl hunting zones are
posted on line. Hard copies of the Migratory Game Bird regulations will
be available by mid-September.
Hunters planning to hunt woodcock, ducks, geese, and other migratory game birds in 2011 are required to complete a Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey. Waterfowl hunters who already completed the HIP survey to hunt in January and February of 2011 are set for the remainder of the calendar year. Migratory game bird hunters who purchase their license online through the MassFishHunt website must fill out a HIP survey on line. A "HIP Survey Completed" message will be printed on their hunting/sporting license. Migratory game bird hunters who purchased a 2011 hunting/sporting license at a town hall or other walk-in license vendor location, must take the survey calling 1-800-WETLAND or by going on line to www.wetland.net. Be sure to write the assigned HIP number on your license. Finally, non-resident hunters are reminded they must complete a 2011 Massachusetts HIP survey in order to hunt migratory game birds in Massachusetts.
All waterfowl hunters are required to possess both a federal and state waterfowl stamp. Hunters are reminded that the Massachusetts state stamp bought last January, like the HIP registration is valid for the rest of 2011, but federal stamps are new each July and are good for the entire 2011-2012 waterfowl season.
Anyone finding a banded migratory game bird should report the band information to the federal government at www.reportband.gov or call 1-800-327-BAND.
ANTLERLESS DEER AND BEAR PERMIT UPDATES
Antlerless deer permit notification cards were mailed to deer hunters
in mid-August. All applicants selected for their Wildlife Management
Zone (WMZ) of choice were notified of their permit with a pink postcard.
To ensure receipt of the permit by archery season, the postcard and
$5 fee made out to "Comm. of Mass - Deer" must be returned
by September 3, 2011 to: "Deer Permit" MassWildlife FHQ, 1
Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.
Applicants not selected for their WMZ of choice were sent yellow postcards in mid-August to allow them to re-apply in WMZs where permit allocations exceeded applications. Re-applicants may circle and rank up to three choices for Wildlife Management Zones. Due to a limited number of permits available in certain WMZs, re-applicants should send in their postcards as soon as possible since re-applicant requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. WMZ 9 permits are no longer available due to the re-application process. Re-applicants who have not sent in their cards must choose from WMZ's 10, 11, 13, and 14 only.
The final opportunity for obtaining an antlerless deer permit, or acquiring additional permits, will occur October 11, 2011, when remaining permits will be available for over-the-counter sales. The only zones for which permits will be available for purchase will be WMZ 10, 11, 13 and 14. Details will be posted in the Antlerless Permit Update area of the agency website.
Bear hunters who applied for a permit should have received their permits
in the mail. Bear hunters who have not yet received their permit should
leave a message with DFW Permit Specialist Lori Cookman at (508) 389-6339.
Bear permit applications, located on the duplicate copy of the paper
hunting and sporting licenses, may still be mailed in with the $5 fee
Make checks out to: "Comm. of Mass-Bear". Only online license
holders may purchase a bear permit on line. Bear permits are also available
at the MassWildlife Westborough Field Headquarters and the District
Offices located in Pittsfield, Belchertown, W. Boylston and Acton. Hunters
must bring their hunting license and the $5.00 fee to obtain an over-the-counter
bear permit. MassWildlife's Southeast District Office in Bourne will
not be issuing bear permits. The 2011 September bear season opens September
6 and ends on September 24. The November season begins on November 7
and ends on November 26, 2011.
PUBLIC INPUT NEEDED FOR A STATEWIDE OUTDOORS SURVEY
Anglers, bird watchers, hunters, trappers, hikers, naturalists, boaters, and other Bay State outdoor enthusiasts have an important opportunity to voice their recreational needs by participating in a statewide recreation survey. The Energy and Environmental Affairs Division of Conservation Services (DCS) is strongly encouraging Massachusetts residents to fill out an important survey that will help guide decisions on how state funding can be best used for the acquisition of conservation or park land, development of new parks, or renovation of existing parks and recreation facilities. DCS is conducting three surveys to gather data from state residents, land trust organizations, and community officials as part of updating the Massachusetts Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The SCORP outlines the state's priorities and unmet needs for conservation and recreational facilities and activities. Public input is a crucial component of the Plan and the surveys gather data about Commonwealth residents' preferences and needs for recreational facilities and activities. The deadline for completing surveys is October 31, 2011.
"It is critical for us to hear from as many people as possible to guide how future LWCF funding could be spent most effectively in Massachusetts," said Melissa Cryan, DCS Grant Coordinator. "We also appreciate any efforts from sporting, and other conservation and outdoor recreation organizations to ask their members to fill out the surveys. Email blasts, newsletters, Facebook messages, or links on websites are great ways to help spread the word."
Massachusetts residents fill out the User Survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BL79V26.
Spanish speaking residents of Massachusetts can visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W7HDQ9K for a Spanish language User Survey. Para una encuesta de ciudadano en español visite: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W7HDQ9K.
Officers, board members, or employees of a Massachusetts land trust or related organization should fill out the Land Trust Survey link at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BLWN7Q3.
Community officials such as recreation directors, conservation agents, community planners, and open space committee members should fill out the Community Officials Survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BLTJ92Q.
For hard copies of surveys, send a self-addressed stamped envelope and a request for the appropriate survey to: SCORP Survey, EEA-DCS, 100 Cambridge Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02114 or call 617/626-1171 and request a survey be sent to you. Please be sure to indicate which type of survey you wish to complete.
The National Park Service requires the Commonwealth to complete a Statewide
Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan every five years to remain eligible
for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant program.
Since 1965, when the LWCF was established, over $95 million of federal
funding has been awarded to projects in every county in Massachusetts
for the acquisition of public conservation/park land, development of
new parks and recreation facilities, or renovation of existing parks
and recreation facilities. Currently MA receives about $800,000 annually
from LWCF, but if a proposal to fully fund the LWCF is passed by Congress
that amount could increase significantly, perhaps up to $15 million.
For more information about the surveys or SCORP, contact Melissa Cryan,
LWCF Stateside Coordinator, at (617) 626-1171 or email@example.com.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS AND HEARING
September 8 -- The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will meet at DFW's Westborough Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd (off North Drive) in Westborough on Thursday, March 10, from 1:30-4:30 PM.
September 28 --Public Hearing -- A Public Hearing will be held by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board on Tuesday, September 28 beginning at 3 PM at MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd (off North Drive) in Westborough, regarding proposed revisions to the Division's Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) regulations. The draft regulatory revisions amend the list of species protected under MESA and clarify the timing of updates to priority habitat maps. The proposed MESA regulation revisions and related information are available on the Division's website.
All meetings and the hearing are open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible. Directions.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
September 3 -- Deadline for antlerless deer permit postcard
and fee returns.
September 6 -- Early Goose season opens statewide and closes September 24, 2011. Statewide bag limit is 7 birds per day. Migratory Bird Regulations.
September 10 - Kayaking and Fishing for Outdoorswomen, Norton - This workshop, designed for adult women new to kayaking and fishing will take place on the Norton Reservoir. Learn the basics of kayaking and fishing, paddle the reservoir fishing, watching waterbirds and other wildlife. Registration is limited to 14 participants and registration materials are now available.
September 10 -- Growing Up WILD Workshop, Milton -- The Appalachian Mountain Club and MassWildlife invites pre-school educators to AMC's Ponkapoag Camp at the Blue Hills Reservation for this fun, hands-on 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The activity guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Workshop participants will receive a copy of the guide and a certificate of completion. Project WILD is sponsored by DFW and the Mass. Wildlife Federation. Pre-registration is required, fee is $25. To register, contact Pam Landry, MassWildlife at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (508) 389-6310. Registration deadline is September 2.
September 24 -- Friends of Myles Standish State Forest 4th Annual Take Me Fishing Fishing Event, Carver -- This family-friendly event will be at Fearing Pond at Myles Standish State Forest. It will be held from 10:00 - 3:00 pm in cooperation with the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Angler Education Program volunteers will be on hand to help novices cast a line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. If you have fishing equipment, bring it along. A limited quantity of fishing equipment and bait will be available. For more information, contact Sharl Heller at email@example.com.
Last Updated: 09/19/2011