PROTECTION PROGRAM ACHIEVES 200K “LAND”MARK
This past fiscal year, with
the acquisition of 3,525
acres of land, over 200,000 acres of wildlife habitat are now jointly
protected by MassWildlife and the Department of Fish
and Game (DFG). These lands are open to the public for hunting,
fishing, watching wildlife, and other outdoor recreation. State wildlife and
environmental officials, legislative aides, media, representatives from
sportsmen’s clubs, land trusts, statewide conservation organizations, federal
agencies, and other conservation-minded citizens gathered at the Maple Hill
Wildlife Management Area in West Stockbridge to celebrate this remarkable
“Governor Patrick’s historic
commitment to open space protection has resulted in approximately 40,000 of
these acres conserved since 2007,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs
Secretary Rick Sullivan. “I thank DFG and the many conservation organizations and individuals who
contributed to this achievement.” Secretary Sullivan commented that over the
past 6 years more than $64 million were invested for wildlife land protection.
Land conservation in the BayState depends on partnerships and financial support from
conservation organizations, land trusts, sportsmen, and conservation-minded
landowners as well as the state and federal government. DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin thanked all parties who have been involved
in the agencies’ efforts. “We are very grateful to the 75 partners that have
worked with us and appreciate the support of all people in Massachusetts who contributed to the milestone achievement of
protecting 200,000 acres.” DFG and MassWildlife jointly
administer the land
MassWildlife’s commitment to wildlife land conservation dates back
to the early 1900s, but prior to 1954 the agency managed only 3,375 acres. In
1968, with the support of sportsmen, $1 per license provided a small but
reliable source of funding which enabled MassWildlife
to purchase more land, increasing the agency’s holdings to just over 46,000
acres by 1983.
The passage of the first open
space bond bill in 1983 and subsequent bond bills made significant wildlife
habitat protection efforts by DFG and MassWildlife possible. In addition, sportsmen-initiated
legislation in 1990 provided an additional source of stable funding. Anyone
purchasing a fishing, hunting, or trapping license is
required to purchase a $5.00 Wildlands Conservation
Stamp (Land Stamp). Land Stamp funding may only be used to acquire important
wildlife habitat that is open to hunting, fishing, trapping and other
wildlife-related recreation. In the past 13 years, Land Stamp funds ($28
million) alone resulted in the protection of approximately 30,000 acres for
wildlife and people. The combination of both open space bond funds and Land
Stamp revenue were the key to achieving the benchmark 200,000 acres of
protected wildlife lands.
“Sportsmen and women have
long played an important part in the conservation of wildlife lands,” said MassWildlife Director Wayne MacCallum.
“Since the passage of the 1990 sportsmen-initiated legislation requiring the
purchase of a Wildlands Conservation Stamp, the
amount of state wildlife lands has increased from fewer than 50,000 acres to
more than 200,000 acres.” He noted that even during tough economic times, the
state’s overall commitment to funding open space bonds and Land Stamp funds for
land protection remained strong.
Reiterating the value of the
sporting community’s contributions, longtime Chairman of the Fisheries and
Wildlife Board, George Darey said, “The protection of
open space for wildlife and the citizens of Massachusetts now and for the future has been a major priority of
the Fisheries and Wildlife Board. We are mindful of and very appreciative of
the sporting public’s willingness to shoulder some of those costs.”
During the holiday season,
many people use plant material gathered from their yard to decorate their
houses or businesses. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) and the
Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) encourage people to avoid using exotic, invasive plants such as
Oriental bittersweet (Celastrusorbiculatus)
and Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
in holiday decorations. Though these plants are attractive, it is best not to
use them. Birds eat fruits from wreaths and garlands and the digested, but
still-viable seeds, sprout where deposited. Exotic, invasive plants create
severe environmental damage, invading open fields, forests, wetlands, meadows,
and backyards, and crowding out native plants. Bittersweet can grow over and
even kill mature trees. These invasive plants are extremely difficult to
control: when cut off, the remaining plant segment in the ground will
re-sprout. It is illegal to import or sell Oriental bittersweet and Multiflora rose in any form (e.g. plants, cuttings, or
wreaths) in Massachusetts.
Home and business property
gardeners, garden club members, nursery staff, landscapers and conservationists
can learn more about invasive plants from DFW’s “A
Guide to Invasive Plants.” The guide includes invasive plant descriptions,
photographs, the plant’s regulatory status, key identification characteristics,
habitats where the plant is likely to be found, type of threat the plant poses
to native species and their habitats, its current distribution, and place of
origin. Similar plant species are also briefly described to aid in plant
To purchase a guide, stop in
the Field Headquarters office in West Boylston (note new address) during
business hours or send a request to “Invasive Plant Guide,” DFW Field HQ,
NHESP, 100 Hartwell Street, Suite 230, West Boylston, MA, 01583, and include a
check for $5 (per copy) payable to: Comm. of Mass.--NHESP. Sorry, but DFW does
not accept credit cards. Learn more about invasive plants from DFW's Natural Heritage webpage
14 –Natural Heritage &
Endangered Species Advisory CommitteeMeeting, West
Boylston – The NHESP Advisory Committee will meet at the Division of
Fisheries and Wildlife's Field Headquarters, 100 Hartwell Street in West Boylston on Thursday, November 14, 2013 from The building is handicapped accessible. Call (508)
389-6360 for further information and directions.
26 – Fisheries
and Wildlife Board Meeting, West Boylston – The Fisheries & Wildlife Board will meet on Tuesday,
November 26, 2013
at at the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Field Headquarters, 100 Hartwell St, Suite 230, West Boylston, MA.
The building is handicapped accessible.
Call (508) 389-6300 for further information and directions.
2 – Restoring Sea Run Brook Trout to Southeastern Massachusetts, Wellfleet – Southeast District Fisheries Manager,
Steve Hurley, will make a presentation at the 11th Annual State of Wellfleet
Harbor Conference. The conference is Saturday, November 2,
2013 from at the WellfleetElementary School, 100 Lawrence Road, Wellfleet. The
conference is free, open to the public, and handicapped accessible. For more
information visit http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Wellfleet/news.php?id=1765&event=no.
2 – Biennial Biodiversity Research Conference, Nantucket– DFW Restoration Ecologist, Tim Simmons will present “The Status
of the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle in Massachusetts” at the Conference sponsored by the
Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative. The conference runs from November 1 –
November 3 and is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required.
For more information go to www.nantucketbiodiversityinitiative.org.
5 – Bird Conservation in the Commonwealth, Pittsfield – Hoffman Bird Club will host a talk by State Ornithologist Andrew Vitz at The emphasis of the talk will be current
and future projects including those on grassland birds, shrubland
birds, mature-forest birds, American Kestrels, Bald Eagles, and Peregrine
Falcons. This is part of the monthly meeting held at Berkshire Life Insurance, 700 South St., Pittsfield. The venue is handicapped accessible and
the event is free and open to anyone interested in birds. Come enjoy the
scheduled program and light refreshments. For more information visit http://www.hoffmannbirdclub.org/meetings.html.
7 – “The Black Bear in Massachusetts”, Westford – DFW Wildlife Technician, Sue Ingalls, will cover black bear natural history, research
efforts, management practices, and human/wildlife interactions at the Westford
Conservation Trust Annual Meeting. This public meeting begins at and is located at the Mary Atwood room in
the J.V. Fletcher Library, 50 Main Street, Westford. A
short business meeting will precede Ms. Ingalls’
presentation. The library is handicapped accessible. Refreshments will be
available. For more information go to http://www.westfordconservationtrust.org/.
16 – “The Eastern Wild Turkey in Massachusetts”, Wellfleet – Sue Ingalls,
DFW Wildlife Technician, will give a talk at MassAudubon’s
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, 291 State Highway, Route 6, South Wellfleet,
at 3:00 p.m. Ingalls will speak about the biology, behavior, and management of
wild turkeys in the Commonwealth. Pre-registration
is required. There is a fee of $11.00 for nonmembers and $9.00 for members. The
venue is handicapped accessible.
16 – Project WILD/Aquatic WILD Workshop for Educators, Northfield – Join educators of all kinds for this fun,
hands-on workshop from 8am - 4pm that focuses on both the Project
WILD and Project Aquatic WILD activity guides.
This workshop is offered by the NorthfieldMountainEnvironmentalCenter. Northfield. Project WILD/Aquatic WILD are interdisciplinary, conservative and environmental
education programs that emphasize wildlife, aquatic wildlife, aquatic
ecosystems, people and the environment. The activities, which correlate to the
MA Curriculum Frameworks, cover many subject areas for students in grades K-8.
They are "hands-on" and easily integrated into units on adaptations,
endangered species, life cycles, senses, seasons, classification, migration,
animal behavior, and ecosystems. Educators can receive 8 to 12 hours toward
professional development after completing the workshop requirements. The
workshop will take place both indoors and outdoors so please dress
appropriately. Pre-registration is required. To register, contact: Kim Noyes at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (413)
659-4462. Please bring a brown bag lunch, mug or water bottle and wear
comfortable clothes & footgear for outdoor activities. Project WILD is
sponsored by DFW and the Mass. Wildlife Federation.
21 – Black Bears in Massachusetts, Groton – Trina Moruzzi, DFW Biologist, will present
at the Nashua River Watershed Association meeting at The meeting will take place at the NRWARiverResourceCenter, 592 Main Street (Rt. 119) in Groton. The building is handicapped accessible
and the meeting is free and open to the public. For more information visit http://www.nashuariverwatershed.org/.