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Sunkhaze Meadows
National Wildlife Refuge

A view of the Sunkhaze Meadows bog.
P.O.Box 1735
9 Water Street
Rockland, ME   04841
E-mail: Michael_Langlois@fws.gov
Phone Number: 207-594-0600, ext. 3
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Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Town of Milford, Penobscot County, Maine, approximately fourteen miles north of Bangor. The refuge was established in 1988 to ensure the ecological integrity of the Sunkhaze Meadows peat bog and the continued availability of its wetland, stream, forest and wildlife resources to the citizens of the United States. The purpose of acquisition, under the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 was "... for the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources ..." and "... for the benefit of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its activities and services. Such acceptance may be subject to the terms of any restrictive or affirmative covenant, or condition of servitude . . . " The Land and Water Conservation Fund was the source of funding for the purchase

The refuge protects the second-largest and most unique peatland in Maine. It contains several raised bogs or domes, separated from each other by extensive areas of streamside meadows. Sunkhaze Stream bisects the refuge along a northeast to southwest orientation and, with its six tributaries, creates a diversity of wetland communities. The bog and stream wetlands, along with the adjacent uplands and associated transition zones, provide important habitat for many wildlife species. The wetland complex consists primarily of wet meadows, shrub thickets, cedar swamps, extensive red and silver maple floodplain forests and open freshwater stream habitats, along with those plant communities associated with peatlands such as shrub heaths and cedar and spruce bogs.

Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for three plants, seven birds, two mollusks and three invertebrates listed as Endangered or Threatened by the State of Maine.

In the early 1990's, the Benton and Sandy Stream Divisions were added to the refuge under the auspices of the 1990 Farm Bill. These small areas are respectively located in the towns of Benton and Unity, Maine. Both are managed for grassland-nesting birds, some of which are rare in Maine.

Four conservation easements are also managed by Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge. They are the Downing, Fortin, Miller, and Quayle Easements, totaling seven separate parcels of land. Downing Easement lands are located in the towns of Corinth and Exeter. Fortin Easement lands are located in Fairfield, while lands of the Miller and Quayle Easements are located in the towns of Starks and Patten, respectively.

Getting There . . .
The refuge headquarters is located in Rockland, Maine. Follow U.S. Route 1 to the intersection with route 73 in downtown Rockland. Turn south on to route 73 for ΒΌ mile then turn left onto Water Street. The office is a large white building on your right. Directions to all refuge units may be obtained at the headquarters.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The Sunkhaze Meadows bog protects habitat used by many species of migratory birds, as well as rare species such as the Tomah Mayfly and the Showy Lady's Slipper.

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The Sunkhaze Meadows bog was saved from being mined for peat in the 1980s by an interested coalition of local residents from Orono, Old Town, and Milford, Maine. The area has a fascinating history as told in "Tales of Sunkhaze," available from the Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows NWR.

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Management Activities
Refuge employees and volunteers conduct surveys of refuge plants and wildlife on an annual basis in an effort to determine species present and to monitor the status of known plant and animal populations. Specific surveys include those for frogs, toads and salamanders (anurans), neo-tropical land birds, grassland-nesting birds, marsh birds, and American woodcock. Regular plant surveys are also conducted on all refuge lands and conservation easements. Information collected is entered into national databases and assists in management of these species on a national level.

A local support group, the Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows, works closely with refuge staff to conduct biological surveys, maintain refuge facilities, and to educate local residents and refuge visitors about refuge lands and resources. This group maintains a website at http://www.sunkhaze.org/.