3 southern Berkshire communities receive funding for habitat management

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Housatonic River in Lee

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP) has awarded $184,400 in state grant funds to eight organizations and municipalities to improve wildlife habitat on 276 acres of land across the state.

The Berkshire County communities of Lenox, Sheffield, and South Lee will be receiving a combined $60,000 for projects. For the past seven years, the program has provided financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of conserved lands to improve and manage habitat for wildlife deemed in greatest conservation need and for certain game species.

“The funds from the MassWildlife Habitat management grant will be instrumental for both Kennedy Park and areas along the Housatonic River,” said Berkshire County Rep. Smitty Pignatelli. “The Berkshires are known for our natural landscapes, and the improvements made possible by this grant will allow our residents to continue to access and enjoy these beautiful natural landscapes for generations to come.”

The state and conservation organizations buy land in to protect wildlife and ecology, but more habitat restoration and management are needed on public and private lands statewide. That’s why the Baker-Polito Administration increased investment by committing to working with partners to promote these efforts on other conserved lands across the state. The MHMGP program encourages landowners to engage in active habitat management on their properties to benefit wildlife.

“Most forests and other wildlife habitats in Massachusetts are not state-owned, and we rely on conservation organizations, cities and towns, private landowners, and other partners to help us manage habitat to benefit all wildlife,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon. “This program provides us with the opportunity to expand our habitat management footprint, directly benefiting wildlife, sportsmen and women, and other people who enjoy outdoor recreation.”

The following eight projects will receive MHMGP:

  • Dunstable – Zoo New England, in conjunction with the Town of Dunstable, has been awarded $11,289 to conduct scrub-shrub habitat improvement work to benefit rare species at the Pierce Town Forest.
  • Falmouth – The Town of Falmouth will receive $20,587 to improve sandplain grasslands at Coonamessett Reservation.
  • Fitchburg – Mass Audubon has been awarded $50,000 to improve pitch pine forest at the Flat Rock Reservation.
  • Groton – The Town of Groton will receive $29,050 to create and improve open field and shrub habitat at Priest Hill.
  • Lenox – The Town of Lenox, in conjunction with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, has been awarded $26,810 to control the hardy kiwi vine at Kennedy Park and adjacent properties.
  • Nantucket – The Nantucket Conservation Foundation has been awarded $13,024 to manage sandplain barrens and heathlands on the Middle Moors property.
  • Sheffield – The Sheffield Land Trust will receive $16,040 to conduct brush hogging and invasive species control at Ashley Falls Woods.
  • South Lee – South Lee Associates, in conjunction with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, will receive $17,400 to control invasive species and improve floodplain forest habitats on multiple Housatonic River properties.

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