Maple Hill Conservation Project
Location: West Stockbridge
Partners: Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Open Space Institute, Massachusetts Natural Resource Damages Program
The Maple Hill Farm Conservation Project was a multi-phased partnership project. In the first phase of the project, completed in June 2011, DFG/DFW acquired a total of 290 acres with the help of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. This phase added 17 acres to the Maple Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and created the new 273-acre Flat Brook WMA north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. This area includes an important pond and wetland complex that is habitat for several state-listed species of rare plants and animals, and it is superb habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.
In December 2012 DFG/DFW completed the second and final phase of the project with the acquisition of an additional 190 acres of land abutting the Maple Hill WMA. This acquisition almost doubled the size of the WMA and provided much-needed access to this important hunting area.
Paul C. Jones Working Forest
Location: Leverett and Shutesbury
Partners: Kestrel Land Trust, Franklin Land Trust, Open Space Institute, Forest Legacy Program
In December 2011, working in partnership with the Kestrel Land Trust, Franklin Land Trust, and W.D. Cowls, Inc., DFG/DFW acquired a conservation restriction on 3,486 acres of working forest land in the Pioneer Valley towns of Leverett and Shutesbury - the largest private land conservation deal in the agency’s history.
The 5.4 square mile area encompasses almost all of Brushy Mountain and includes additional adjacent parcels. The conservation restriction ensures that the property will not be developed - protecting critical wildlife habitat and providing public access for hunting, fishing, hiking, and other recreation. The forests will continue to be sustainably managed by W.D. Cowls Inc. as it has been for decades providing for diverse wildlife habitat and supporting local forest harvesting and processing jobs.
McRevey Family Trust
Location: West Brookfield
Partners: East Quabbin Land Trust
In December 2011 DFG/DFW celebrated the creation of the new 320-acre West Brookfield Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located along Wickaboag Valley Road with our project partner the East Quabbin Land Trust. The new WMA provides diverse habitats of managed hayfields, wet meadows, old orchards, mature upland forests, and brushy field habitats. Many wildlife species including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, otter, mink, black ducks, mallards, Virginia rail, mallard, song birds, diverse insects, and amphibians all use the land. The land also contains a full 1.3 meandering miles of the Mill Brook.
Conservation of the property will sustain the coldwater fishery in Mill Brook that hosts a native population of eastern brook trout and protect the water quality of this primary tributary to Lake Wickaboag. The property is open to the public for hunting, fishing, bird watching, hiking, cross-country skiing, and other non-motorized outdoor recreation.
Partners: ADM Agawam Development, LLC
In August 2012 ADM Agawam Development, LLC, an affiliate of A.D. Makepeace Company, Inc., conveyed 58 acres of land in fee and granted a conservation restriction on another 28 acres adjacent to the shore of Halfway Pond in Plymouth.
The Halfway Pond area contains an incredibly rich array of natural resources. It is habitat for 18 state-listed rare species (3 endangered, 3 threatened, and 12 special concern). The property has over 3,000 feet of frontage on this rare coastal plain pond. It is also Bald Eagle habitat. Healthy chicks were observed in a nest adjacent to the pond during the spring of 2013.
Partners: Franklin Land Trust, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, MassDOT
At 1,402 feet in elevation, Flagg Mountain is situated in Conway’s northwestern corner on the Ashfield and Buckland town lines. In May 2013, working in partnership with the Franklin Land Trust, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, and MassDOT, DFG/DFW was able to protect Flagg Mountain from development.
The 160-acre acquisition has become the Flagg Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife and plants, including white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, wild turkey, red fox, mountain columbine and numerous songbirds. Though most of the property is forested, a portion of the property is high quality aquatic habitat.
The new WMA abuts approximately 330 acres managed by the New England Forestry Foundation, which links to the 93-acre Buckland State Forest. Together, the three properties form a wildlife corridor of more than 580 acres.
DFG/DFW acquired 39 acres of land along the Squannacook River from the Rossbach family in December 2012. The property directly abuts the 49-acre former Bellerman property acquired by the agency in 2006 and is now part of the Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Squannacook River WMA currently includes over 1,700 acres in fee and over 900 additional acres in conservation restrictions. It stretches from Ashby and Townsend to Groton and Shirley with a small portion in Ayer.
The Squannacook River is one of the few cold-water fisheries in eastern Massachusetts. It is important to protect land directly adjacent to the river from development in order to protect this habitat as well as the numerous rare species found here. Rare species associated with the Squannacook include freshwater mussels, dragonflies, salamanders, fish and turtles. Protecting land along the river not only creates a corridor for wildlife but also provides fishing access. The Squannacook is stocked with trout both in the spring and fall.