Orenda begins Habitat Management Program for New England Cottontail in Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge

Work began on our Carl Monge Sanctuary and Makepeace Mercy Lowe Sanctuary the week of February 20th. The Orenda Wildlife Land Trust,Inc., Town of Mashpee, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, will partner to restore native habitat at the above sanctuaries and 147 Lovells Lane.

The parcels are part of Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge, a Cape Cod natural area with salt marshes, cranberry bogs, Atlantic white cedar swamps and freshwater marshes.
The project, which will also reduce the risk of wildfire to the refuge and neighboring communities, will include cutting and thinning of some trees and creating fire breaks, followed by controlled prescribed burning in the future.

The goal of the restoration is to increase the growth and variety of shrubby plants such as scrub oak, the preferred habitat for the New England Cottontail, a native rabbit that is a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. More than 15 other rare native animal and plant species will benefit from the project.

Firebreaks will help firefighters to safely maneuver in the event of a wildfire as well as provide safe controlled burn operations. Thinning trees and controlled burning will reduce fire risk to neighboring homes and businesses by reducing flammable vegetation that could promote fire spread.

Orenda Wildlife Land Trust, Inc. is proud to participate in this model of a private land trust partnership within a National Wildlife Refuge. The cost of the 10 year habitat restoration program is projected to be over $70,000.00. Orenda Wildlife Land Trust, Inc. is supporting this important project with funding from Natural Resources Conservation Service and donations.

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