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News Headlines

January 15, 2020: FARNWR to Benefit from Shaw's GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Program

We are very excited to announce that we have been selected as a beneficiary of the Shaw's GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Program for the month of February!

The Shaw's GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Program, which launched in April 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. FARNWR was selected as the February beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the Shaw's located in Stow, MA.

FARNWR will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Bag is purchased at this location during February, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.

The donation of proceeds from the sale of the bags will help the Friends support U.S. Fish & Wildlife projects on the Assabet River Refuge and contribute to the Blanding's Turtle Repatriation Project.

For more information on the Shaw's GIVE BACK WHERE IT COUNTS Program, visit

August 15, 2020: Final Hunting and Fishing Plan for ARNWR Released

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final hunting and fishing plan for the Assabet River, Great Meadows, and Oxbow National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Eastern Massachusetts.

A draft plan was issued in March 2020, and during the 68- day public comment period, 189 unique comments and two petitions representing a total of 501 individuals or entities were received from the public.

The final plan can be found at

General information about hunter and visitor safety on the refuge can be found at

August 1, 2020: White Pond Road Trail Update

Attention All Visitors! The Refuge team has made progress with improvements to the White Pond Road Trail within the refuge boundary and will continue working on the trail over the next month or longer. The Team is doing their best to limit the extent of the trail closure(s) to minimize impacts. For the safety of our visitors and staff, please respect the trail closure signs, cones, tape, or barricades that are put in place when machinery is being used to improve the trail. This applies to ALL visitors (hiking, biking, walking, etc.) and means the public cannot access the area.

The Eastern MA Refuge Complex Team thanks you for your understanding and cooperation!

April 22, 2020: Draft Proposal to Expand Hunting Opportunities

The Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is proposing to expand hunting opportunities. The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) policy permit hunting on a national wildlife refuge when it is compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established and acquired.

Hunting has been permitted at Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge since 2005. At Assabet, the draft proposal will open current hunting areas to coyote, fox, and bear, offer a fall turkey hunting season, and open up a new area along the Assabet River to waterfowl hunting and archery only hunting of deer, turkey, coyote, fox, and bear. The draft proposal will provide opportunities for mentored, veteran, and youth specialized hunts and open 123 additional acres to hunting.

For more information please visit the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge website, under the caption "Around the Refuge" titled "Seeking Public Comment for Fishing and Hunting Plan."

You may also click on each link below to read each document:

Please send all questions to Linh Phu, Refuge Complex Manager:

March 15, 2020: Visitor Center Temporarily Closed

During this time when many places are closed and social distancing is encouraged, Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is open for visitors to spend time outdoors on the trails. Refuge Management will continue to assess conditions and adjust operations as necessary to ensure the safety of visitors while protecting natural resources.

The public facilities, including the Visitor Center, Nature Store and outdoor restrooms, are closed until it is deemed safe to reopen.

November 14, 2019: Visitor Center Temporarily Closed

We unfortunately must report that due to an issue with the geothermal heating system, the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will be closed until further notice.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife staff is working diligently to address the issue as quickly as possible. We will alert you when the Visitor Center is open again. This Visitor Center closure does not affect the refuge itself and all trails are open.

November 7, 2019: Visitor Center Holiday Closures

The Visitor Center will be closed for Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 30th. The Visitor Center will be closed for a Winter break all weekends between December 20th and January 26th (re-opening February 1st).

March 1, 2019: Trail Closures

(Sudbury MA) The beavers on the refuge have been busy expanding their territories. This has caused significant flooding. Please note the following message from refuge staff.

The Otter Alley trail and a section of the Winterberry Way Trail (from the intersection with Puffer Pond Trail north of the tear-drop parking lot to the parking lot off of Old Marlboro Road) will be temporarily closed until further notice due to unsafe trail conditions caused by flooding. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. Thank you.

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.