The Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) is excited to announce plans to create an upland grassland within the Herb Hadfield Conservation Area. Upland grassland, also known as upland meadow, is an increasingly rare habitat-type in the northeast. While we still have many open fields worked for hay production in Westport, meadows are managed for wildlife in mind rather than crop production. By not mowing, and reducing disturbance from road noise, this meadow will be ideal for rare birds that require grasslands for nesting.
Paskamansett Bird Club president Lauren Miller-Donnelly shared the following thoughts when informed of the plan.
“I am super excited to hear about plans to open up 6 acres of land at Herb Hatfield. This work will undoubtedly offer habitat that is becoming rare in our region: grasslands. When the trees and mature shrubs that shroud this previously open farmland habitat are removed, grassland birds and native pollinators will surely benefit. Birds that require open-grassy habitats are becoming increasingly rare in our region, particularly Bobolink, Meadowlarks, American Kestrel, Bobwhite Quail, and several species of warbler. Often modern mowing practices can be detrimental to these birds, eliminating nesting and foraging habitat. It is pleasing to know that Westport Land Conservation Trust considers wildlife conservation an important aspect of their land protection work, and the Paskmansett Bird Club fully supports this project. Not only that, we are looking forward to the birding opportunities that this project will create!”
A cutting plan has been created by forester Rupert Grantham and WLCT plans to move forward with the plan before the end of February. During construction, visitors are asked to use other areas of the property. Signage will help guide visitors to appropriate alternate areas. We hope to reopen the area by the end of March upon completion by the contractors. WLCT is very excited to help create this unique space and hopes people can enjoy the grassland for generations to come.