New for 2014!

From the Calcareous Wetlands of the Berkshires to the Pine Barrens and Sandplain Grasslands of the Southeast, Cape and Islands, many of the Commonwealth’s most ecologically significant natural areas require active management to maintain or restore open habitats that support a diversity of endangered, threatened, and/or declining species.  The Commonwealth has invested millions of dollars in highly successful land protection programs.  Now, we must protect that investment in public land through long-term management of the resources we worked so hard to conserve.

In partnership with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Fish & Game, and the Department of Conservation & Recreation, MassWildlife is launching the Key Sites Initiative—targeted habitat restoration, management, and acquisition to protect our existing investment in public land.

Building on BioMap2 , MassWildlife’s strategic guide to biodiversity conservation, Key Sites identifies a unique sub-set of BioMap2 lands that represent the Commonwealth’s most significant natural areas, often supporting a diversity of endangered species.

Key Sites 2014: Partnering for Habitat Restoration

Field staff from the MassWildlife Biodiversity Initiative are in the process of completing the single, largest habitat management effort the agency has ever undertaken, thanks to funding provided by former Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan, Jr., Commissioner Mary Griffin of the Department of Fish & Game, and licensed sportsmen and women of Massachusetts. The Fiscal Year 2014 effort spans nearly 526 acres across six different Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) that have been identified as Key Sites, and is designed to both restore native plant communities and boost local populations of rare and declining species. A variety of state-listed wildlife will benefit, as will songbirds, upland game birds like ruffed grouse and American woodcock, and rare and endangered plants.

Key Sites Habitat Restoration Projects 2014
SiteTreatment Area (Ac)TownHabitat Objective
Bolton Flats WMA102Lancaster & BoltonGrassland & Scrub oak
Frances Crane WMA North90FalmouthGrassland & Scrub oak
Montague Plains WMA250MontaguePitch pine/Scrub oak
Southwick WMA59SouthwickGrassland
Berkshire Calcareous Wetlands (3 Sites)25Stockbridge, West Stockbridge, & LeeCalcareous Fen
Total526  

Contract work involves nine private contractors that specialize in tree harvesting, brush mowing & mulching, harrowing, and invasive plant control, and represents a vibrant private/public partnership that pays huge dividends for wildlife, sportsmen and women, and the general public.

Grassland Expansion at the Frances Crane WMA

Frances A. Crane Wildlife Management Area

This project is restoring and expanding areas of fire-adapted sandplain grassland which is ranked as among the highest priority type of natural community in Massachusetts (S1: Critically Imperiled), benefits state and federally listed plant and animal species, and provides breeding habitat for woodcock and bobwhite quail.  This site has been identified as one of the highest priorities for long-term grassland bird conservation pdf format of MA Grassland Bird Conservation Plan - FINAL in Massachusetts.

Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak Restoration at the Montague Plains WMA

Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area
Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area

This project is maintaining and restoring areas of fire-adapted sandplain pitch pine/scrub oak habitat, at the largest and most significant inland barrens site in Massachusetts (S2: Imperiled). In addition to providing habitat for a variety of rare butterflies and moths, this project also benefits declining shrubland birds like whip poor wills and Eastern towhee, increases local populations of game birds like American woodcock and ruffed grouse, provides awesome lowbush blueberry picking, and improves public safety for the people and property in the community of Lake Pleasant adjacent to this fire-adapted ecosystem.