Maintaining Diverse Wildlife Habitats Across the Commonwealth
On October 24, 2015, the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation sponsored a conference on wildlife habitat management on public and private lands. Hosted by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the conference was centered on the need to maintain diverse wildlife habitats across the Commonwealth.
The conference brought a diverse group of stakeholders together including: land trusts, conservation organizations, municipalities, sportsmen and woman, and forestry and agricultural interests. Additionally, scientists, consultants, land managers, and government officials offered management tools and examples of the effective maintenance of diverse wildlife habitat.
During the conference, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth announced a new grant program designed to assist private landowners with wildlife habitat management, conservation, enhancement and protection. Through this grant and enhanced management efforts, the Commonwealth is demonstrating its commitment to active management of grassland, shrubland, young forest, and mature forest habitat, all for the benefit of wildlife.
The Foundation shares this commitment to wildlife habitat management. To that end, the Foundation will continue in its efforts to provide funding for habitat aquisition and management and to partner with the Division and other groups in these efforts.
Establishing a New Population of the State-Threatened Eastern Spadefoot Toad
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has developed a project to establish a new population of the state-threatened Eastern Spadefoot Toad at the at the Southwick Wildlife Management Area. The Eastern Spadefoot is listed as Threatened under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Currently, the Eastern Spadefoot is limited to Cape Cod, with isolated populations in the South Coast region, Plum Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and in the Connecticut River Valley.
The Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, along with other partners, provided funding for this project. The Division utilized this support in its effort to reverse the population decline of the Eastern Spadefoot in the Connecticut Valley. Specifically, the Division was able to take direct management actions which included: the creation of breeding-pool basins across the Wildlife Management Area; introduction of Eastern Spadefoot eggs, tadpoles and juveniles to the site; monitoring of survival and breeding activity; and management of soil and habitat.