Published on July 1, 2021

Additional 16-Acre Floodplain Forest Preserved at Arcadia

With support from the City of Northampton, Mass Audubon added 16 acres of state-designated "Critical Natural Landscape & Core Habitat" to its Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in the Connecticut River Valley.

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega
Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega

Important Bird Area

The new addition is strategically located along the eastern boundary of the Manhan Meadows and adds to the extensive wetland systems, grasslands, shrublands and forest that make up Arcadia's 734-acre wildlife sanctuary.

Arcadia is known to host approximately 20 state-listed rare species, and is an Important Bird Area (IBA), supporting habitat for numerous breeding and migratory birds.

This particular land is part of a wildlife corridor actively used by bobcat, coyote, deer and other wildlife. The property also has upland areas which provide helpful vantage points where you might catch sight of Ring-necked Ducks or a Great Blue Heron.

A map showing the now-protected Bercume property that was added to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary

Benefits of the Oxbow

The entire area is part of an old "oxbow" (a U-shaped segment of water) that became separated from the primary flow of the Connecticut River long ago. Oxbow wetlands such as this provide excess storage capacity for flood waters, improved water quality through filtration services, and habitat for a variety of wildlife.

"The protection of this property supports existing conservation goals for Arcadia," said Tom Lautzenheiser, Regional Scientist for Mass Audubon. "That includes minimizing habitat fragmentation; hosting state-exemplary floodplain forest with associated rare plant species and vernal pools; providing habitat for mature-forest wildlife; and protecting wetlands."

Thank you to the City of Northampton which played a supporting role in Mass Audubon's preservation of the 16 acres. This land fills a hole in the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary and preserves the same ecosystem partially protected by the City's nearby Mill River Greenway.