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Barre — The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) recently partnered with the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) on a wildlife habitat improvement project on MassWildlife’s Moose Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Barre, MA. The Massachusetts Chapter of the NWTF financed the habitat management work and MassWildlife provided the technical planning and oversight. The project involved clearing trees and shrubs and removing invasive plants on an overgrown 3-acre parcel at Moose Brook. The open habitat created by this clearing expands the footprint of existing open habitat on the property and benefits a variety of wildlife, including the Wild Turkey for which the NWTF is named. Visitors to Moose Brook WMA will also benefit from a new parking area off of Sheldon Road, providing enhanced access to that portion of the WMA.
Many types of wildlife rely on open habitats like grassland, shrubland, and young forest–all of which are declining in Massachusetts. The goal of MassWildlife’s Habitat Program is to create, restore, and maintain open habitats on public wildlife lands across the Commonwealth. Fortunately, these goals complement NWTF’s “Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt” initiative, which seeks to conserve and enhance critical wildlife habitat.
“We really appreciate this kind of support from conservation partners like the National Wild Turkey Federation. Their contribution makes a difference for wildlife,” said Jack Buckley, MassWildlife Director. “Restoring open habitat is a shared priority between MassWildlife and NWTF, as it benefits game birds like Wild Turkeys and Ruffed Grouse, as well as less common birds such as the Field Sparrow and Eastern Towhee.”
Wild turkeys use open habitats and young forests for nesting, breeding, and courtship activities. These habitats are also home to an abundance of insects, an important food source for brooding hens. Young turkeys also feed on these protein-rich insects in the summer, enabling them grow quickly to maturity.
“Massachusetts NWTF was proud to assist MassWildlife with the recent habitat improvement project at Moose Brook WMA. We recognize the vital importance that projects like this play in providing habitat for a variety of game and non-game species,” said Keith Fritze, NWTF Massachusetts Chapter President. “As our long history of cooperative projects with MassWildlife continues, we plan to identify additional opportunities that will enable us to utilize our members and membership dollars to further our current mission of ‘Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.’ Thank you to MassWildlife for approaching us with this opportunity and to the NWTF members in Massachusetts for providing the funding that allows projects like this to come to fruition.”
Like all Wildlife Management Areas, Moose Brook WMA is open to the public for wildlife-related recreation, including hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife viewing. This 922-acre property is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with brook trout fishing in Moose Brook, and hunting opportunities for game species like white-tailed deer, black bear, and turkey.