- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for New Addition to the Squannacook River WMA
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
For over half a century, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) has worked to protect the Squannacook River in Townsend, Groton, and Shirley by acquiring land to add to the Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). MassWildlife recently added another 45 acres to the 1,980 acres previously held along this beautiful forested river. The newly acquired property is on the east side of Warren Road south of Townsend Harbor, abutting the existing WMA.
The new parcel of land supports several rare species protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020. Blanding’s turtles, listed as threatened in Massachusetts, have been observed in this area. This large, yellow-throated turtle is quite rare in New England, but can be found in pockets of eastern Massachusetts. As with most turtles, Blanding’s turtles face threats from vehicle traffic, so the dense road network of eastern Massachusetts is a major hazard. Protecting land inhabited by these handsome turtles is the best strategy for long-term conservation.
The three other MESA-listed species are all species of special concern: the wood turtle, the brook snaketail dragonfly, and the creeper freshwater mussel. All three are dependent on the Squannacook River. Both Blanding’s and wood turtles prefer to dig their nests and lay eggs in dry, sunny, sandy areas. Occasional openings in the forest near the river provide nesting sites and keep the female turtles from crossing roads in search of suitable places to nest. Protecting forests along the margins of the river also helps to maintain good water quality.
Along with providing habitat for rare species, this new addition to the WMA helps conserve other important resources. The river itself offers great opportunities for recreation and connecting with nature. Anglers can fish for trout, chain pickerel, bluegill, largemouth bass, and pumpkinseed. Enjoy fishing from a kayak or take a leisurely paddle down this peaceful river to appreciate the unique fire-adapted community found adjacent to the river. Visitors of all kinds will revel in the tranquil beauty of this area, which is only an hour from Boston and the North Shore.
We hope you get to visit our Squannacook River WMA sometime this year – it’s a beautiful place to hike, fish, and kayak! Check out the MassWildlife Lands Viewer to get started.