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August 4, 2018: Hazardous Plant Safety Alert from the USFS

Giant HogweedGiant Hogweed(Sudbury MA) We at the USFWS take pride in our efforts to control/eradicate invasive species that cause harm to our native plants, wildlife, and people. We now have two invasive species that once again are starting to make appearances throughout Region 5. These invasive plants are commonly known as Giant Hogweed (Heracleum Mantegazzianum), and Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca Sativa). These plants have protective defenses that are extremely dangerous for humans. Contact with these plants can cause up to 3rd degree burns, scarring, and potential blindness if introduced into the eye

Wild ParsnipWild Parsnip Do not attempt to remove these plants. If discovered on your property, call the USDA Cooperative Service Agency in your county for guidance. Some City Governments will remove the plants for you and will monitor for return growth in following years. If you find this on your property and can’t find a local office for guidance, you can contact the USFS Northeast Region Safety Office and we will help with the process.

If found on USFWS property, contact the USFS Northeast Region Safety Office and we will work with you and the local authorities to implement an eradication plan. These plants have been found in all of the Northeast states. Most recently showing up in Virginia - a teenage landscaper attempted to remove Giant Hogweed this past week and received severe burns for his efforts.

The links below will take you to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for more information, photos, identification aids, and links to more information. We encourage all of you to take the time to look at the information within these links.

Giant Hogweed Information
Giant Hogweed Brochure
Wild Parsnip Information
USFS Northeast Region Contact Information

March 4, 2018: Mowing and Clearing South of Assabet River NWR

(Sudbury MA) The City of Marlborough was awarded a habitat management grant from MassWildlife. Dependent upon soil and weather conditions, between February 27th and March 20th, a contractor will be conducting mowing and clearing work in Management Unit I. This is the 14-acre area that had been previously burned in 2014, near trail junctions E and F. Conditions will need to be frozen or dry in order to reduce risks to soils, amphibians and turtles. As an extra precaution, SVT will be conducting a turtle/wildlife sweep of the area just prior to initiation of the work.

The mowing and removal of girdled, dead trees is in preparation for a future prescribed fire. This treatment will ensure that a subsequent burn, in 3 – 5 years, will be safe. A safe burn cannot be conducted if shrubs and trees are too tall and standing dead trees are a danger to personnel during a fire. The work will take approximately seven days to complete. Public access to the site during this operation will be prohibited while the equipment is on site. All entrances will be posted the days this work is being done to notify trail users. USFWS Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge will be facilitating access through their property.

SVT's goal is to restore and maintain pitch pine-scrub oak habitat. The current vegetation has too high of a percentage tree oaks (red and black) for the desired conditions. Therefore, later this year, tree oaks (non-scrub oak) will be selectively treated with an herbicide to reduce their abundance. The City of Marlborough and SVT will continue to control invasive plants throughout the year. Last year the City was able to make great progress along the Old Concord Road trail thanks to funding provided by MassWildlife's Habitat Management Grant program.

January 23, 2018: What the Government Shutdown means to Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge

(Sudbury MA) The Assabet River NWR lands remain open to the public during the government shutdown, which began at midnight January 20th. The gates will be open dawn to dusk. The usual visitor rules apply. Please stay on the trail and pets are not allowed on the refuge.

As the government shutdown has been settled, ARNWR has returned to normal operation and the Visitor Center will be open this weekend.

September 25, 2017: Refuge Manager Retires

(Sudbury MA) We said a fond farewell at the end of September to Libby Herland, who had been Refuge Complex Manager for all of the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex since 2003. Libby presided over the public opening of the Assabet River NWR and our visitor center and worked closely with our Friends group to make the refuge what it is today. We will miss Libby and wish her all the best in her new home in western Massachusetts.

September 25, 2017: FARNWR Has a New President

(Sudbury MA) Liz Truebenbach takes over as FARNWR's fourth president. Liz writes I am honored to represent all our members and will work to support our precious refuge and our U.S. Fish and Wildlife partners. I hope to apply all the good things I've learned from my predecessors. I look forward to working with our new Refuge Manager, once that person in named. I hope to see you at our monthly speaker series and I hope you are enjoying the lovely weather at the refuge - always a good place to get outside.

September 19, 2017: White Pond Road Construction Complete, North Gate Re-opened

(Sudbury MA) The section of White Pond Road that leads to the parking lot at he "North Gate" is now open again as the construction is complete. The signage in the area still needs to be updated, but feel free to use the North Gate once again.

August 18, 2017: Fort Assabet Continues to Grow!

Fort Assabet at PlayFort Assabet at Play (Sudbury MA) Summer is almost over but don’t let that stop you from coming out to visit. Come help build and create a very special place, set on our Refuge, for all our kids to connect with nature, forever! Besides the widely known educational and health benefits of “unstructured” nature play, including how kids will expand science, engineering and math skills, they also gain leadership and communications skills to boot! The more kids that come out, and the more they return, the more all of these benefits to them will increase. They have the ownership in what they build, because they built it themselves, therefore they will want to protect it, and all of the nature surrounding them as well.

Please join the Fort Assabet facebook group site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/915183241835288/ You will be able to post photos/videos of your fort building, plants, animals, weather, etc., and also post articles you find on the benefits of outdoor nature play. Also post the creative ideas that you and your kids will naturally come up with to share with others, like what tools are needed. Please be sure to create your own “events” for others to join with you as well.

The entire refuge system is watching to see how we do and what works. Fort Assabet will help create the future generation of refuge wildlife and land stewards. Most importantly our kids will show us how nature provides them the additional education and leadership skills they will need to succeed in life!

July 18, 2017: Watch Invasive Removal, Read About Local Teens Removing Invasives on the Refuge

(Maynard MA) New England Aquarium's Live Blue Ambassadors program spent time in July with Dave Lange and the APT (Assabet Pulling Together) on the refuge removing invasive plants. Their efforts were covered by the local press. Read about invasive removals and watch a video of it at Hudson Wicked Local.

July 7, 2017: White Pond Road Construction and North Gate Closures

(Sudbury MA) Starting on July 24, 2017 the US Fish and Wildlife will begin rehabilitating (regrading and paving) it’s North Entrance which is part of White Pond Road in Stow. In an effort to preserve extensive survey work, grading and resurfacing throughout the duration of this project the entrance to the refuge at this location will be closed to all traffic for up to 60 days (up to September 21st). The portion of the White Pond Road that will be closed will be just south of the Assabet River Rail Trail up to the refuge gate. The road will be gated and inaccessible to vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists for up to 60 days. This will also cut off access to the refuge’s North Parking Lot. See link for more details.

July 7, 2017: New Addition to the Refuge Property

(Sudbury MA) The transfer of the Air Force Tower property within the Refuge has gone through and USFWS has begun demolition of the buildings (the Radome tower has already come down and 75% of the structure has been removed from the Refuge). The USFWS Regional Office has committed up to $100,000 toward removal of asbestos from the buildings and bids for the job will go out later this summer.

June 7, 2017: New Building Next to the Refuge Entrance

(Sudbury MA) If you've visited the Refuge lately, you've probably noticed the new fenced-in building next to the refuge entrance. This new structure and the land it is on belongs to the Department of Fire Services. The building is used to train fire department trainees working in burning houses. The Department of Fire Services has promised to plant native shrubs around the property to minimize the visual impact.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service has no involvement with this property or its use or appearance.

Additional questions or comments about this maybe directed to Maribel.Fournier@State.ma.us at the Department of Fire Services.

April 28, 2017: New Visitor Center Hours

(Sudbury MA) Starting May 1st 2017, the Visitor Center will be closed to the public on Fridays due to staffing limitations and low visitation. The new schedule is Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

April 1, 2017: National Park passes now for sale at Administrative Office only

(Sudbury MA) National Park passes are no longer sold at the Visitor Center. They can be purchased Mon-Fri 8 AM - 4 PM at the Refuge Administrative Offices at 73 Weir Hill Rd, Sudbury.

January 2, 2017: South Side of Assabet River NWR Closed in January

(Sudbury MA) Hiking trails on the South Side of Assabet River NWR will be CLOSED for the month of January and re-open on February 1st.

The Sudbury Valley Trustees are undertaking the Desert Natural Area Restoration immediately south of Refuge. The South Side of Assabet River NWR is part of the larger Desert Natural Area, a diminishing habitat type, along with the Sudbury Valley Trustees’ Memorial Forest where restoration logging will take place. Operations begin in December and will continue for six to eight weeks. For the safety of our visitors and for the workers all trails in the south side of the Assabet River NWR will be closed for the month of January while logging is underway. Trails re-open on February 1st.

The project will restore pitch pine/scrub oak barrens and increase abundance of rare and declining species associated with barrens habitat. It will also reduce fire hazards, maintain high quality vernal pools an d cold water streams and protect overall habitat quality and diversity. The plans have been reviewed by Mass. Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

More details on the project can be found at www.svtweb.org.