Published on October 16, 2020

Teamwork Fuels Habitat Improvements at Allens Pond

Part of the team that helped improve the grasslands at Allens Pond

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded Mass Audubon a contract to improve eight acres of habitat at Allens Pond as part of their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). We are so grateful that the sanctuary was awarded this contract to increase our financial and technical assistance in projects that focus on improving water quality and enhancing wildlife habitat!

Over the last few months, Mass Audubon staff, contractors, and volunteers have been hard at work completing the first phase of this project. We focused on habitat throughout our grassland loop and removed invasive plant species such as Autumn Olive, honeysuckles, and Multiflora Rose that had matured along our stone walls. 

The sanctuary's dedicated volunteer crew—the Trail Blazers—spent three Fridays assisting with selective removal of invasive species. Two work days were organized that brought staff from all over the South East together for the first time since the pandemic began. Local contractors from Horticulture Habitat and Daniel Cook Fine Gardens helped us mechanically remove vegetation from the stone walls. 

Removal of invasive species is crucial to support the biodiversity potential of the landscape. Biodiversity increases the resilience of our landscape and supports wildlife year-round by providing a steady food supply and shelter. Many pollinators require native plants to complete their life cycles, and without them their populations will decline. 

Piles of invasive species that were removed from grassland habitat at Allens Pond
Piles of removed invasives

In addition, removing invasives adjacent to a wetland can improve aquatic plant composition and water quality. Native plants that were struggling to survive among the invasives will now have a chance to flourish once again. As a bonus, visitors will enjoy better views of our marsh from the grassland loop!

Allens Pond will continuously manage these areas in the future. Within the next year, we'll complete the second phase of habitat improvement work—controlling an invasive Common Reed (Phragmites australis) patch that has established itself adjacent to our marsh. We'll accomplish this through strategic cutting and mowing that will weaken the structure of the stand, resulting in its demise. 

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