Published on October 2, 2020

Update on Daniel Webster Habitat Management Work

Mowed path through grasslands at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

If you've visited Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary this fall, you've probably noticed there's a lot of dirt and very little grass!

Over the summer, we implemented a large-scale project to restore and improve the sanctuary's grasslands. The work involved supplementing the soil, managing the encroaching invasive plants, and reseeding the entire area with clover and mixed hay seed.

Though they provide important habitat to many species, as well as beautiful open vistas, grassland habitats do not occur naturally in New England—they must be maintained. If grasslands are not actively managed, shrubs and other plants (some of them invasive) start to crowd in. This deterioration makes mowing difficult and, more importantly, makes the fields less desirable to nesting birds.

While we've maintained the grasslands at Daniel Webster through annual mowing and addressing other challenges on an as-needed basis, this large-scale restoration effort was overdue. Now that the work has wrapped up, we look forward to watching the newly-seeded fields sprout and fill in. Spring 2021 will bring lush, renewed grasslands full of nesting birds!

When you visit, be sure to take a peek at the new pollinator area on the grassy knoll near the parking lot! This area has been seeded with a variety of native flowering perennials as well as native grasses, all of which will provide nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, and other native pollinators. In addition, the native seed mix used in the meadow includes host plants for the larvae of several native butterflies.

Native plant meadows take several years to fully establish and flourish. Once the plants settle in and re-seed, they will be a treat for the eyes as well as important habitat for declining populations of native insect pollinators.

If you have additional questions, please contact North River Wildlife Sanctuary by email.