Two important land protection projects containing critical wildlife habitat recently took major steps closer to completion!

Bob Ford, Land Protection Specialist

In Ashland

Town officials recently completed negotiations with Northeastern University to protect 120 acres of woodlands and farm fields. One key factor in moving this project forward: the Town recently received a $500,000 state grant to assist with the purchase cost.

Red-tailed hawk; photo taken by Dori (

Mass Audubon’s role in this project has included conducting appraisals and technical assistance. We have also pledged to contribute $150,000 toward the project. It’s anticipated that 100-plus acres will be covered by a conservation restriction, meaning it will be permanently protected.  This is great news for the variety of wildlife that call it home, such as American woodcock, red-tailed hawk, fox, and barred owl.

In Barnstable

Nearly 100 miles away on the Cape, a valuable waterfront parcel fronting on Barnstable Harbor and Cape Cod Bay has taken a giant leap forward.  A generous landowner has agreed to sell to Mass Audubon (at a greater than 50 percent discount) the last piece of salt marsh and upland habitat identified in the Barnstable Great Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary Land protection plan.

After much relationship building with the conservation-minded landowners and their family, an agreement was reached where the land will become part of the Barnstable Great Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. Protection of this key parcel would complete an assemblage of the area’s highest priority parcels, protect rare and endangered species, and provide storm surge protection to area residents and businesses.