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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Completes Grassland Management for 2013

Region 5, December 17, 2013
Mowing a large grassland field.
Mowing a large grassland field. - Photo Credit: n/a

After the first hard freeze of the year when all the insects and pollinators have stopped flying around the fields, Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge staff can begin grassland habitat management. We manage nearly 450 acres of grassland throughout the 7,760 acre refuge for a variety of species such as woodcock, northern harrier, wood turtle and Eastern towhee. This year we had a target of 190 acres to be mowed on the refuge and we passed our expectations by 30 percent, mowing 249 acres with help from staff and volunteers. The cooperation of multiple refuge programs and volunteers is vital in hitting our grassland management target each year. Great Swamp has only one equipment operator and relies on volunteers and other staff to complete the mowing on time and on target. There were three agriculture tractors with large mowing decks running as much as 8 hours each day cutting vegetation. This year’s conditions were great for grassland mowing and we hope to keep the momentum rolling as we move into brushland management throughout the winter.

Contact Info: David Sagan, 413-584-8002, david_sagan@fws.gov