OSI Saving New Englands Wildlife Project Grants

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Saving New England's Wildlife Grant Projects

Grain Point, ME Saving New Englands Wildlife

Grain Point, Maine

Grain Point lies within the Maine Natural Areas Program Pleasant Bay Focus Area and is remarkable as the largest undeveloped and unfragmented parcel remaining in Back Bay and the Beaver Meadow estuary. The project includes 1.5 miles of pristine high-value coastal shorefront with 137 acres of estuarine wetlands, 15 acres of forested wetlands and 52 acres of upland buffer. The property’s extensive wetlands provide exceptional habitat values for wintering and migrating water birds including American Black Duck, Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Merganser, Common Eider, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Black-bellied Plover, and Semi-Palmated Plover.  Grain Point sits near the mouth of the Narraguagus River, one of only eight  rivers in the United States that support wild populations of the federally endangered Atlantic salmon and also supports runs of Alewife, American Shad, Blueback Herring, Sea Lamprey and American Eel. A $30,000 grant from the Open Space Institute to the Downeast Coastal Conservancy for the acquisition of the Grain Point property was leveraged 15:1 by federal and private dollars.

Highland Farm river, Jerry Monkman

Highland Farm, Maine

On April 30, 2009, the York Land Trust, the Trust for Public Land and their partners conserved the 151-acre Highland Farm in York, Maine, with a grant from Saving New England’s Wildlife.

Highland Farm is a keystone property in the 48,000 acre Mount Agamenticus-to-the-sea Conservation Initiative (MtA2C) which seeks to halt the fragmentation of the Mt. Agamenticus area. Highland Farm provides habitat for seven threatened and endangered species and important restoration habitat for the endangered New England cottontail.  New England cottontail’s numbers have fallen dramatically due to habitat loss and its once wide range in Maine has been reduced to York and Cumberland Counties.  Southern and Northern forest types converge in the Highland Farm area, creating biological diversity unrivalled in Maine.  Highland Farm also boasts a high concentration of vernal pools that provide ideal habitat for many organisms, including spotted and Blanding’s turtle, to carry out parts of their life cycles. 

The conservation of Highland Farm will also provide public access for recreation and education activities and links to a 40 mile recreational trail around Mt. Agamenticus.  Preservation of the area will help protect the drinking water for residents of three southern Maine towns.

 

Cobscook Bay, Maine

Cobscook Bay, SWAP, Maine Heritage Trust

Defined by its irregular and largely undeveloped shoreline,
24 foot tide changes and high biological diversity and productivity, Cobscook Bay has long been recognized by state, federal and non-government conservation biologists as “one of the most outstanding habitats in Maine and the northeastern United States”

As of January 2012, local, state, federal and non-profit partners have worked with area landowners to permanently protect over 6,800 acres within the Cobscook Bay Wildlife Action Plan Focus Area. Two OSI grants to Maine Coast Heritage Trust helped conserve four additional areas boasting important wildlife habitat on Cobscook Bay.

The Ward Farm
The Ward Farm (Pembroke) is a 175-acre salt water farm with house and barn set back far from the shore of greater Cobscook Bay across scenic open fields. The Ward Farm includes 100 acres of forested land with 1,600 feet of frontage on Long Cove abutting the Wilbur Neck State Wildlife Management Unit (WNWMU), and 800 feet of Cobscook Bay frontage. The shoreline is undeveloped and wild with a large stretch of exposed mud at low tide. Long Cove provides excellent habitat for water-dependent birds including great blue heron, various species of ducks, and foraging bald eagles. There are 10 other protected properties, 5 bald eagle nests (3 EH) and 3 known seal haul-out sites within just one mile of the property.

Crow’s Neck Farm
The 139-acre Crow’s Neck Farm (Trescott) includes about 9 acres of open farm fields and orchards, with the remainder being predominately forested with over 37 acres of salt marsh and intertidal mud flats around the edge of the 8,200 feet of irregular shoreline of Raft Cove and Cobscook Bay. Crow’s Neck Farm is located in a very rich ecological area that has been a focus area for conservation efforts (there are 38 other permanently protected properties within 2 miles of the property). The shoreline of Raft Cove provides important tidal wading bird and waterfowl habitat.

Treat Island
Treat Island (Eastport) is a 71-acre Nationally Significant Coastal Nesting Island with 7,700 feet of diverse shore frontage. Less than a mile offshore, Treat Island is highly visible from the communities of Lubec, Eastport and from the FDR International Park on Campobello Island, New Brunswick. A pair of nesting bald eagles has used the island since the1980’s, with three nesting locations currently known.

Sipp Bay
Maine Coast Heritage Trust has conserved five miles of wild shoreline on Sipp Bay, a contained tidal inlet that lies within Cobscook Bay. The project permanently protects 241 acres, securing conservation easements on two parcels and fee purchase of two others. Sipp Bay provides high value habitat for wading birds and waterfowl that rely on the productive mudflats and shoreline habitat in this secluded area.

Cranberry Marsh North, Maine

Blandings Turtle in Maine Photo by J. May

The Saco Valley Land Trust, with assistance from Maine Coast Heritage Trust, acquired a conservation easement on Cranberry Marsh North, a 168-acre property adjacent to Shady Brook Farm. This woodland property includes a large vernal pool complex, identified as a priority ecological area in Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan. The conservation easement protects this important ecological resource while also allowing for sustainable management of the forest, enhancing the economic viability of Shady Brook farm. This homestead farm retails vegetables and lies within two miles of the city's urban center. It is the last commercial farm enterprise of its size and type in Biddeford.

The biological significance of this area is due to the high concentration of pocket swamps and vernal pools that support the state threatened spotted turtle and the state endangered Blandings turtle. Cranberry Marsh North, being entirely undeveloped and mainly forested with numerous granite knolls and ledges, contains vernal pool habitat for these turtles.

The property is situated within a 1350-acre undeveloped habitat block and is part of a 500-acre working farm and woodlot. Unfragmented forest blocks of this size are very rare in southern Maine, especially so close to the coast. This marsh has been extensively studied and used as an outdoor classroom by students at the University of New England.

 

Maquoit Bay, Maine

Maquoit Bay ME 

Bunganuc Point: Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust have protected 54 acres of significant wildlife habitat on the shores of Maquoit Bay in mid-coast Maine. The property, which includes more than 2000 feet of tidal frontage, is considered highly significant by state and federal wildlife agencies because it provides and protects feeding and resting habitat for wading birds, ducks and migrating shorebirds. In addition, conservation of the land helps to sustain the health of the Bay’s mud flats—a resource commonly used by commercial clammers and wormers. The land is adjacent to two other recently conserved parcels along the western shore of the bay, including a 124-acre public preserve owned by the Town of Brunswick. A $150,000 grant from OSI provided key match to significant investment of federal funding toward the project.  

Chase Reserve - Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Town of Brunswick and the Freeport Conservation Trust are working together to protect an interconnected corridor of conservation lands along the western shoreline of Maquoit Bay. The Henshaw Property is the second parcel in this corridor to benefit from a Saving New England’s Wildlife grant – OSI provided $141,900 toward this parcel.  At 237 acres, the property’s size is significant for coastal Cumberland County.  The coastal portions of the property boasts high value tidal wading-bird and waterfowl habitat and shorebird feeding areas while the inland portions include significant vernal pool habitat.  The woodland part of this property is centrally located within the largest remaining forest block on the coastline of Casco Bay.  A strong conservation easement will ensure permanent protection of sensitive wildlife habitat on the property and will ensure that forest management and public access are undertaken in a manner that conserves the resources on the land.
  

Mason Bay, Maine

Mason Bay, ME Transborder

Saving New England’s Wildlife funded a multi-partner effort headed by the Pleasant River Wildlife Foundation (PRWF) to protect eight properties with 4.2 miles of intertidal shorelines, 656 acres of coastal wetlands and surrounding uplands in Washington County, Maine. The properties will be managed by PRWF for their habitat values and for public access. Together, the project and adjacent conservation lands create 1,078 acres of contiguous preserved territory within the Englishman Bay Focus Area. The project area provides exceptional habitat for a wide range of coastal species, including shorebirds, waterfowl, wading birds, fish, shellfish, and marine invertebrates, as well as for raptors, forest birds and wide-ranging furbearers.

In addition, the preservation of these lands may provide a critical hedge against climate change for wildlife that depend on intertidal habitat. The area’s combination of upland buffer, gradually sloping shores and glacial till soils provide the opportunity for mudflats and marshes to respond to anticipated rises in sea level by growing vertically and by migrating inland.

Pleasant Bay Wildlife Management Area, ME

Pleasant Bay Hemlock Island, ME

Pleasant River Wildlife Foundation and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are collaborating to consolidated more than 30 parcels of land to form the Pleasant Bay Wildlife Management Area. When completed this new management area will conserve 2,000 acres of uplands, intertidal wetlands and fresh water wetlands in downeast Maine. With support from OSI, the first six properties (totaling 168 acres) of the Management Area have been permanently conserved. These properties include shoreline and tidal habitat, as well as woodlands and forested wetlands, conserving a diversity of wildlife habitats. The area harbors state designated waterfowl and shorebird habitat and is home to several rare species. The establishment of the wildlife management area is part of a larger strategy, spearheaded by a consortium of federal and state agencies, regional conservation organizations and local land trusts, to achieve landscape scale protection of Maine’s estuarine wildlife habitat.

Piscataquis Preserve, ME Piscataquis Preserve, Atkinson, Maine

With the support of a $200,000 grant from OSI, the Piscataquis Preserve—an ecologically rich 1,200-acre tract of coniferous and deciduous forest, wetlands, and riparian habitat in central Maine—was forever conserved by the Northeast Wilderness Trust.   Conservation of the Piscataquis Preserve leveraged the permanent protection of an additional 3,859 acres of habitat rich land. The project is a key component in a larger matrix of contiguous conservation land, totaling nearly 20,000 acres.  The Piscataquis Preserve includes three miles of frontage on the Piscataquis River that provides habitat for priority waterfowl and rare and endangered species, including Atltantic Salmon.  The land also encompasses a one-of-a kind grove of mature, seed-producing American chestnuts.  Because of the project’s national importance and the potential to catalyze future conservation action in the area, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a $1 million grant to protect this property.

Walnut Hill, Maine

Stream on Walnut Hill, ME

Three Rivers Land Trust (3RLT) is working with state and federal wildlife agencies and other area land trusts to conserve core parcels within southern Maine’s Walnut Hill Focus Area, a priority area within the State Wildlife Action Plan that is at risk from residential development.  With a $21,000 grant from OSI, 3RLT conserved the first property in that effort: 88-acres that contain habitat for two state endangered species, the Blanding’s turtle and northern black racer. The presence of vernal pools, pocket swamps, and floodplain wetlands increase the property’s value for these species. The relatively unfragmented condition of the surrounding forest and lack of barriers to overland travel make this area a particularly important refuge. With protection of these 88 acres and continued successful efforts with other landowners in this region, 3RLT will be protecting headwaters of the Mousam River and thus helping to protect water quality and habitat for downstream wildlife along one of the largest rivers in southern Maine.

 

Androscoggin Headwaters, NH

 Androscoggin River

With the addition of 2,920 acres to the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, the Trust for Public Land launched a multi-phase project to conserve more than 31,000 acres in the Androscoggin Headwaters.  Four undeveloped ponds, several Androscoggin River tributary streams, habitat for nesting loons and osprey, and a vibrant brook trout fishery are now permanently protected.

The 5-phase Androscoggin Headwaters conservation project aims to transfer 8,000 acres of the highest quality habitat to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and New Hampshire Fish and Game. The remaining 23,000 acres will be protected with conservation easements that ensure sustainable forestry and recreational access. Conservation of the Headwaters adds to a network of more than 80,000 acres of conservation lands in New Hampshire and Maine. Prior to this conservation agreement, the 31,000-acre property had been the largest unprotected property remaining in New Hampshire. 

Ashuelot River Headwaters, NH

Sand Pond, NH photo Jerry Monkman

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forest’s (Forest Society) Ashuelot River Headwaters project protects more than 3,000 acres of prime forest surrounding the source of the Ashuelot River in Lempster, NH. The project includes 29 miles along the river as well as 3 miles of undeveloped frontage on Ashuelot, Long and Sand Ponds and the summit of Silver Mountain, a popular hiking destination with spectacular views. A tributary of the Connecticut River, the Ashuelot flows through twenty-five New Hampshire towns, and provides drinking water to the City of Keene. Virtually all of the land targeted for protection was identified by the NH Wildlife Action Plan as the “best of the best” habitat in the State of New Hampshire.

Much of the property will remain under working forest management, subject to best management practices required by the conservation easements. The land will thus continue to contribute to the forest products economy in the immediate project area and regionally. Periodic timber sales will also provide host towns a flow of timber tax income. As for recreation, the lands are crossed by a state designated snowmobile trail leading from Pillsbury State Park heading south to both Marlow and east to Washington, and the bald top of Silver Mountain has been a popular local hiking destination for over a century. The project also enhances the integrity of the larger landscape surrounding Pillsbury State Park, ensuring a wild and scenic experience for recreational users of the park. All these recreational values translate into people recreating in the host communities and supporting local business.

Clay Pond Headwaters, NH

Clay Pond Headwaters, Hooksett, New Hampshire

The 539-acre Clay Pond Headwaters project encompasses ecologically significant natural lands, including habitat for Blandings, spotted turtles, bobcat and one of the state’s most imperiled reptile species. Clay Pond protects threatened habitat resources such as large unfragmented forest blocks (including both uplands and wetland habitats), riparian/shoreland habitats, and wildlife corridors. The project area has a varied topography and is primarily forested. The forests are white pine and oak including paper birch, hemlock, red and sugar maple, red, white, and black oak, as well as red, white, and pitch pine. A wide variety of wetland habitats cover over 45 acres of the area. These include beaver ponds, scrub-shrub swamps, red maple and dead tree swamps, wet meadow, marshes, a sedge dominated fen, and vernal pools for waterfowl and other species associated with wetlands such as beaver, otter, and moose.

The Clay Pond Headwaters project area is within an 18,000-acre unfragmented forest ecosystem. It serves as part of a permanent connection between Bear Brook State Park and other lands owned by the Manchester Water Works north of Route 27 with other Manchester Water Works properties further to the south, including Lake Massabesic. 

Gardner Mountain, NH

Gardener Mountain View-from-Lyman-Property.credit-B.Bean

Critically important bat habitat and a significant portion of Gardner Ridge, the scenic backdrop for New Hampshire’s Town of Lyman, have been conserved. 1,081 acres on Gardner Mountain is now subject to a conservation easement that supports sustainable timber management, protects wildlife habitat, and precludes residential and commercial development. The Trust for Public Land and the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust worked together for over three years to complete this project.

Paddock Mine, an abandoned copper mine found on the property, is one of the largest bat hibernacula in the state. Bats are under severe stress from a new and mysterious disease known as White Nose Syndrome, which is causing high mortality rates among several species of bats. Federal and state biologists believe that conservation of the Paddock Mine hibernacula is a critical part of the response to White Nose Syndrome.

Schoodac Brook, NH

Schoodac Brook, NH SNEW

In Webster, New Hampshire, The Nature Conservancy and the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust protected 680 acres spread across three parcels in the Schoodac Brook and Blackwater River watersheds. The properties are highly ranked in the New Hampshire state wildlife action plan as they harbor three turtle species that require a mix of aquatic and terrestrial habitats—the state-endangered Blanding’s turtles, state-threatened spotted turtles, and wood turtles. The parcels link 5,700 protected acres, resulting in the conservation of a complex of forests, riparian areas and wetland systems large enough to provide wildlife sufficient food, shelter and nesting areas.

These project lands lie within a 33,000-acre block of mostly unfragmented forest and connect two ecologically pristine watersheds. As well as conserving habitat for significant wildlife species, sustainable forest management will continue on much of the land and public access will still be allowed.

Pawtuckaway River, NH

Pawtuckaway River, NH 

The project conserves frontage on and upland buffer for the Pawtuckaway River and includes habitat ranked in the New Hampshire WAP as Highest Quality Wildlife Habitat.  The land hosts key species, including state endangered Blanding’s turtles and state-threatened spotted turtles. Additionally, this property protects a key tributary of the Lamprey River, that includes several imperiled species, such as the American brook lamprey and brook floater mussels.  The high water quality of the Pawtuckaway River is important to the continued existence of these and other species.  The project area is located within a 4,900-acre regionally significant forest block.  The long term goal is to conserve a corridor from the 5,000 acre Pawtuckway State Park to Great Bay.  Preserving this ecologically significant area is important to maintain viable wildlife populations, ensure wildlife corridor connectivity, and wildlife’s ability to adapt to changing conditions in southeastern New Hampshire, the fastest growing region of the state.

Pinkney Hill – New Hampshire

Pinknewy Hill SNEW

 The 181-acre Pinkney Hill project is the first phase of an effort by Bear Paw Regional Greenways and New Hampshire Fish and Game to protect over 500 acres of priority habitat on the western border of Bear Brook State Park in southern New Hampshire. The area is home to a variety of threatened wildlife, including the state’s only known population of an endangered reptile species. The two parcels included in this project are a key part of a major effort to avoid extirpation of this species from the state, as the land is within its critical habitat. These parcels are also important for a number of other imperiled species, including Blanding’s Turtles and Whippoorwills. The property connects to the largest block of wildlife habitat in southern New Hampshire - 18,000 acres - and adds to the protected portion of the block. OSI supported the project with a $50,000 grant.

   

Whaleback, New Hampshire
 Beaverbrook Whaleback Property, photo Christopher Otte

The Beaver Brook Association (BBA) purchased nearly 80 acres of forest and wetlands contiguous to 1,850 acres of already-protected land in Hollis, New Hampshire. The parcel, known locally as the Whaleback property, includes several high-priority habitats identified in New Hampshire’s Wildlife Action Plan that support Blanding’s and Spotted turtles, which are considered state endangered and threatened, respectively.

Appalachian Oak and Pine forests and rocky ridge areas on the property also provide breeding and migratory areas for Whip-poor-wills and Common Nighthawks. Protection of the property builds upon a 4,000-acre network of nearly contiguous wildlife habitat that begins in Pepperell, Massachusetts and continues north through Brookline, NH to the Whaleback property in Hollis. Adjacent lands are home to several known state designated “species of greatest conservation need,” including state-endangered marbled salamanders.

This area of southern New Hampshire is considered to be at high risk for development. Roads are a major concern for amphibians and reptiles; therefore, the expansion of protected blocks such as this one is key to preventing increased road density and protecting the core of these habitats.

Brushy Mountain, MA

Brushy Mountain From Hadley, MA

The Brushy Mountain project encompasses the largest block of previously unprotected land in the Commonwealth.  Thanks to the leadership of the Kestrel and Franklin Land Trusts and landowner W.D. Cowls, Inc., this highly strategic property is now subject to a state-held conservation easement.  Indicating the significance of this project, OSI made grants from both Saving New England’s Wildlife and Western Massachusetts Land Protection Fund.  The conservation easement will enable W.D. Cowls  – Massachusetts' largest private landowner which owns and manages timberland in 28 Western Massachusetts towns – to continue sustainable forest management while permanently precluding residential or commercial development.

Brushy Mountain is located between several large reserves, including Mount Toby, the Quabbin Reservoir, and Montague Plains, and therefore provides a critical core and corridor for wildlife living and moving through these protected areas and larger forested regions.  Biologists with the state’s Natural Heritage Program have classified Brushy Mountain as Core or Supporting Habitat because of its scale and diversity.  The property also provides habitat for two state listed turtle species, wood turtle and eastern box turtle, and contains vernal pools likely to support breeding habitat for other sensitive amphibians.  Documented wide-ranging mammals on the mountain include moose, which are returning to this area of Massachusetts, black bear, otter, bobcat, fisher, and mink.

Camp Northrop, MA
Camp Northrup, MA New England

With a grant from OSI, The Nature Conservancy secured a conservation easement on 292 acres of forest covered by the state’s highest priority wildlife designations. TNC also protected a significant 53 acre tract as an addition to Mount Everett State Reservation. Located within one of the healthiest and most biologically rich forest core areas in southern New England, the project protects animal and plant species of multi-state concern. Cedar Mountain, located on the property, provides a range of critical habitats for more than a dozen rare species of plants and animals.  In addition, the project augments the largest protected forest block in Southern New England and 36,000 acres of largely unfragmented forest.

 

Cranberry Pond, MA

Cranberry Pond, Jen Melville in Canoe
The 300-acre Cranberry Pond effort is part of the Symphony Lakes Project, an initiative to preserve nearly 500 acres in western Massachusetts.  The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and Berkshire Natural Resources Council are working together to conserve the area’s broad calcareous wetlands, large pond, open meadows, and adjacent upland forests.  Scenic vistas from Route 41 and the MassPike offer glimpses of waterfowl and an abundance of rare and common plant species, including seven state-listed species.  The upland is a mix of forest and open fields that could easily have been converted to housing.  Acquisition by DFG, supported with an $184,000 OSI grant, ensures permanent conservation of this important wildlife resource.   

 
 
Dead Branch Brook,  MA
Dead Branch Brook, Markell Smith P

More than 78 miles of the Westfield River’s tributaries and main branches have been designated Wild and Scenic by the National Park Service. An additional 2,000 feet of frontage along this high-quality tributary to the Westfield River has been preserved by The Nature Conservancy with the purchase of 32 acres in Chesterfield with support from a grant from OSI.

Though its name may imply the opposite, Dead Branch Brook thrives with freshwater life. Brook trout and Atlantic salmon rely on its clear and cold water, while turtles and salamanders forage and travel in and alongside the streambed. It is situated in the heart of a vast, intact forest. Immediately to the north is the Fisk Meadows Wildlife Management Area, which includes more than 1,300 acres of protected land. To the south is a complex of protected land owned by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation totaling almost 1,100 acres.

 

Windrush Farm, MA
Windrush Farm, Mass, Monkman photo

The Open Space Institute, through its Saving New England’s Wildlife initiative, assisted The Trust for Public Land (TPL) in the permanent protection of the 195-acre Windrush Farm in North Andover and Boxford, Massachusetts. The farm, a mix of fields, forest and a rare Atlantic White Cedar Bog that is prime wildlife habitat, is also the longtime home base of Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. (WFTE), which each year provides equine-assisted therapies to more than 300 children and adults with disabilities.

Windrush Farm contains state-recognized critical wildlife habitat supporting rare and endangered species such as Blanding’s turtle and blue-spotted salamander. Its protection creates a nearly 1,800-acre contiguous block of conservation land and connects to an extensive network of trails that includes the Bay Circuit Trail and trails in Boxford State Forest. Conserving Windrush Farm also protects the Ipswich River watershed—providing drinking water to more than 330,000 residents in 15 Massachusetts communities.

 
East Ashburnham Reserve, MA 
view from the summit of Mount Monadnock monkman

In June 2009, The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) received grants from OSI’s Western Massachusetts Land Protection Fund and OSI’s Saving New England’s Wildlife initiative for the purchase of conservation restrictions in the Eastern Ashburnham Reserve Conservation Corridor of Western Massachusetts. This complex project encompasses the Department of Fish and Game’s purchase of a conservation restriction on 1,750 acres of the City of Fitchburg watershed lands, the City of Fitchburg’s purchase of a conservation restriction on 165 acres, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s purchase of a conservation restriction on 840 acres.

This project protects over 2,700 acres of forest land at the eastern edge of the Worcester-Monadnock Plateau eco-region and state designated Ashburnham Habitat Reserve.  Comprised of upland forest, wetlands and cold-water streams, the lands expand conservation of the north-south corridor from Fitchburg Massachusetts to New Hampshire’s Wapack Range and provides important wildlife habitat for state-threatened species, such as Blanding’s turtle and the Incurvate Emerald dragonfly. The conservation of the Ashburnham lands will also improve protection of Fitchburg’s water supply and increase recreational opportunities in Western Massachusetts by providing the public with access to miles of trail networks.

 

Greater Ashburnham Habitat Reserve, MA


Ashburnham Preserve, MA, SNEW

A decade in the making, the Greater Ashburnham Habitat Reserve project permanently protects 1,260 acres of woodlands, wetlands and streams prioritized for conservation by local, state and national organizations and agencies. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and other project partners hold conservation easements on portions of the property, with the remaining acres now added to the Ashburnham State Forest. 

A significant proportion of the property is designated as critical habitat by the Commonwealth’s BioMap 2 because it harbors six state listed wildlife species. The effort also establishes new connections and wildlife corridors to the region’s 30,000 acres of permanent conservation land and builds on a previous OSI investment that conserved the 2,755-acre East Ashburnham Reserve. The property is centered in one of Massachusetts’ ten Commonwealth Habitat Reserves – focus areas established to conserve the state’s most unique large habitats. 

 

Hoosac Range Project, MA
 
Western Mass Grant_Hoosac, Kelly, panorama

In spring 2009, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) received grants from OSI’s Western Massachusetts Land Protection Fund and OSI’s Saving New England’s Wildlife initiative for the purchase of two parcels in the Hoosac Range in North Adams, Massachusetts.

OSI grants helped to conserve the last two parcels in a continuous corridor from Route 2 to the Savoy State Forest.  With the purchase of these parcels, BNRC’s Hoosac Range Preserve now totals 760 acres, which abut 12,000 acres of state-owned forestland.  This area offers prime wildlife habitat for a diversity of animal and plant life including the state-threatened species of Bartram’s Shadbush, Large-leaved Goldenrod, and Mourning Warbler.   The project included frontage on Route 2, which will enable public access to a new and expanded network of trails.

Great Salt Marsh, MA 

Great Salt Marsh Massachussettes Audubon

Several years ago Mass Audubon began working, with many partners, to conserve land in the Great Marsh – among the most ecologically significant ecosystems in Massachusetts, containing the most extensive salt marsh systems between Long Island and the Gulf of Maine. In this most recent project, Mass Audubon acquired 75 acres in Rowley, to be added to the 129 acre Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. These lands enhance over 2,870 acres of contiguous protected land, which are, in turn, a key component of a larger network of over 7,000 acres of protected land in and around Great Marsh. This property and its varied habitats will be managed to benefit the many high-priority migratory birds, including several threatened and endangered species, that use the Great Marsh ecosystem. 

Much of Massachusetts’s salt marsh habitat has been destroyed or degraded by development, making it critical to protect what remains of this unique natural community. By protecting adjacent upland buffer as well as the salt marsh, the project will minimize human intrusion into this valuable coastal wetland area.  Salt marshes are considered one of the key natural communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, due to accelerated sea level rise.  One way salt marshes can adapt to such change is to migrate into the adjacent upland.  Thus it is all the more important to conserve the bordering upland, as well as the marsh itself.  The complex of salt marsh and undeveloped surrounding upland in the Rowley property presents an ideal opportunity for climate change adaptation. 

The Sheffield-Egremont Corridor, MA


In October 2011, the Sheffield Land Trust made another stride forward in its effort to conserve 2,000 acres of field, forest and wetland in southwestern Massachusetts. This land is part of a network of over 5,000 acres, including the Appalachian Trail and state forests and wildlife management areas. The Berkshire Taconic Landscape, including much of the town of Sheffield, is globally significant for the conservation of natural heritage, containing one of the largest remaining unbroken forest blocks in southern New England and an unusually high concentration of rare species and natural communities due to limestone bedrock, pure water and lack of fragmentation.

In this most recent closing, made possible with a grant from OSI, 97 acres of critical habitat and productive cropland were added to the protected corridor. Because of the presence of federally endangered species, much of this project area is designated by the State's BioMap 2 as core habitat. Through this project, a family owned farm will continue to operate on fertile agricultural soils, subject to an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, while the most sensitive areas will be owned and managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 
Three Mile River Westville Conservation Area, MA

ThreeMile River Westville Conservation Area

The Trustees of Reservations, The Nature Conservancy, and the City of Taunton have partnered to protect an ecologically significant 54-acre property in Taunton. With almost a mile of frontage on the Three Mile River. It contains seven of 22 habitat types in the Massachusetts SWAP plan and habitat for two rare turtle species.

The Three Mile River property conserves, in conjunction with nearby existing protected areas, landscapes large enough to help ensure the viability of wildlife species and connect and buffer habitat to facilitate the movement of wildlife. Protected property surrounding this parcel is also highlighted below. The Three Mile River is part of a Large Unfragmented Landscape Mosaic that supports Blanding’s and Wood Turtles. The property supports a diversity of natural communities including vernal pools, shrub swamps, forested swamps, and wet meadows which provide excellent foraging habitat for these rare turtles. Grasslands and meadows on the property also provide significant nesting habitat for turtles and declining bird species (e.g., American Woodcock).  

 

 



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