A new conservation acquisition marks the first step in connecting state forest land with conservation lands on the south shore of Martha’s Vineyard, the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts announced today.
Late last week, The Nature Conservancy finalized the purchase of 36 acres, located between the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest and Long Point Wildlife Refuge. The Conservancy also acquired partial ownership in 80 additional acres nearby, with the intent of protecting more than 200 acres over time under the name Watcha Woodlands.
“It’s about connectivity,” said Tom Chase, the Nature Conservancy’s director of conservation strategies in Massachusetts. “Watcha Woodlands is a perfect example of our commitment to conserving large landscapes, sometimes by filling in the small puzzle pieces that make up the big picture.”
Watcha Woodlands is an area of ecological transition, where fire-dependent scrub oak woodlands meet sandplain meadows and uncommon glacial valleys known as a frost bottoms that provide unique habitat. A wide diversity of moths and butterflies are found in the area, including the rare imperial moth and wooly gray moth. Watcha Woodlands also provides habitat for such birds as prairie warblers, black-billed cuckoos and red-eyed vireos.
Conservation of this property will protect the water quality of Big Homer and Watcha Ponds from the potential negative impacts that could result from development of this area. Decades of development have replaced much of the island’s sandplain and scrub oak woodlands with homes and roads. The Watcha Woodlands project, coupled with existing conservation lands, provide significant habitat for wildlife to thrive now and adapt to future climate change.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.