Refuge Planning
Northeast Region
Shurblands in southern Maine. Credit: Bill Zinni/USFWS
Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge (Proposed)

Latest News in Developing the Draft Plan

The comment period for the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge (Proposed) Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (LPP/EA) is now closed. We appreciate everyone who took the time to provide us comments. We will be reviewing and summarizing those comments, and developing our responses, over the next few months. We will periodically post updates on our progress here.

The draft LPP/EA will remain available for viewing on this website.

Beth Goldstein
Natural Resources Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035-9589
Phone: 413/253-8564.


Over the past century, many shrublands and young forests across the Northeast have been cleared for development or have grown into mature forests. As this habitat has disappeared from much of the landscape, the populations of more than 65 songbirds, mammals, reptiles, pollinators, and other wildlife that depend on it have fallen alarmingly.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state wildlife agencies, private landowners and dozens of conservation organizations have responded to this urgency by working together to restore and protect shrublands and young forest throughout the landscape of New England and New York. Despite significant progress, conservationists have determined that more permanently protected and managed land is needed to restore these wildlife populations to Northeast woodlands.

To address this need, the Service is proposing to establish Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) -- a proposed, new refuge to conserve shrublands and young forest habitat across six Northeast states. These areas would also be enjoyed by visitors whenever possible.

Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment

The proposed Great Thicket NWR Draft Land Protection Plan and environmental assessment (draft LPP/EA) can be accessed here.

The draft LPP/EA explains the need for land conservation and how the Service’s proposal complements other conservation activities, including providing important habitat connections to existing conservation areas.

By identifying shrubland-dependent wildlife as a conservation priority, the Service’s proposal, which includes ten focus areas in six states (ME, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY), complements each state’s Wildlife Action Plan.

Other Resources

Direct links to more resources:

Great Thicket NWR Draft Land Protection Plan and environmental assessment (draft LPP/EA)
2-page Highlights of the proposal (PDF-1.16MB)
Proposed Refuge Acquisition Focus Area maps
Frequently Asked Questions about Refuge land acquisition (PDF-665KB)
● Media releases
o Public Comment Period Extended to April 3, 2016 (PDF-175KB)
o Connecticut
o Maine
o Massachusetts
o New Hampshire
o New York
o Rhode Island

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Last updated: April 4, 2016