Bald eagles, wood turtles, eastern box turtles, and marbled salamanders are on the Massachusetts Endangered Species List with a “Threatened” or of “Special Concern” designation and all have been sighted in the Manchaug Pond watershed with the past year.
Last week on May 19, Endangered Species Day was celebrated, a day the United States Congress appointed to increase awareness of imperiled species. Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts MassWildlife, through the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act with over 425 Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern animals and plants on the state list, protects local native species that may or may not be federally protected. Species from the majestic Bald Eagle which we observe soaring and fishing Manchaug Pond to the inconspicuous salamanders, frogs and toads laying eggs in protected coves, neighboring wetlands, and watershed vernal pools to quiet turtles methodically traveling the forests of our hillside watershed are among the flora and fauna needing protection from extinction.
The MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) implements the state’s Endangered Species Act. This happens through field surveys and research, regulations, habitat management, land protection, and education. NHESP’s work is funded by grants and donations from supporters.
What can you do to protect our native species?
- Take a few minutes: In the Manchaug Pond watershed, two distinct areas are currently designated as Priority Habitat (noted in yellow on the map with certified and reported potential vernal pools noted by the blue asterisk star.) These areas are currently under review with a new map proposed. As species flourish or decline, habitats protected as well as the list change. Please review the proposed protected habitat and comment directly to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. View not only the map of Manchaug Pond (type in Ledgestone Road, Douglas, MA) and scroll down to view all known protected species appearing in the various locations in town. Your comments can give updated, field observation to MassWildlife staff
- Be a citizen scientist! Those interested in helping rare species can assist by reporting rare species and vernal pools directly to MassWildlife. Observations may be submitted through the Vernal Pool and Rare Species (VPRS) Information System. NHESP uses these reports to keep its database current. A photo and/or word of sightings would also be of interest to us all through the Manchaug Pond Foundation – we can share on the website and in our efforts serving as advocate for the lake and correct use.
- Use Best Management Practices around your home landscape! The how, what, when and where can make all the difference around your watershed home or campsite. A few tips include… Mulch rather than bag lawn clippings for a natural fertilizer and soil amendment. Use NO P (phosphorus) fertilizers and be sure not to apply before a rain storm, on driveway and hard, non-green surfaces, and near lake or water resources edge thereby protecting lake water quality and not promoting aquatic weed growth. Plant buffer gardens between your lawn and the lake, wetlands or stream to prevent erosion and offer shade to shoreline fisheries. Be sure to avoid plants such as Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Flag Iris, water lilies and other non-native, invasive aquarium and pond plants.
- Support our efforts to preserve the waterlevel and dam, promote open space and conserve critical watershed land. Notably, the northern portion of area PH 570 lies in part on the conservation land owned by the Manchaug Pond Foundation with the Beaton Farm purchase while the Sutton Conservation Commission-owned Waters Farm property, donated in 1974 by past Manchaug Pond Association (MPA) secretary Dorothea Waters Moran, offers numerous vernal pools dotting it’s 120 acres. Land
conservation efforts by private landowners, the watershed towns of Sutton, Douglas and Oxford, by conservation organizations such as ourselves and Metacomet Land Trust and by the state preserve parcels key to sensitive populations that may be under pressure as the area becomes more populated, which protects our water quality, and links wildlife corridor stretching from the Douglas State Forest to the Sutton State Forest at Purgatory Chasm – an effort begun some decades ago by Past MPA President John S. Duff as the Lake Manchaug Greenway and Wildlife Corridor in working with the Metacomet Land Trust.
Continue to support our work as the Manchaug Pond Foundation either with an online donation, with your time and talent as a volunteer and as a member! Membership renewal forms will be hitting your mailbox soon – send in your committment, new or longstanding, to MPF, P.O. Box 154, Manchaug, MA 01526-0154. Thanks you for your efforts in preserving the Manchaug Pond watershed making it a beautiful natural, recreational resource which enhances the quality of life o so many in this corner of the Commonwealth.