Lands Management Program

The Lands Management Program is charged with implementing habitat management and planning for Department owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs); a process that provides for a coordinated management approach statewide in conjunction with the Regional Wildlife Biologists. Its mission is to maintain and improve habitat conditions across IFW’s ownership with an approach based on management activities to create or maintain optimum wildlife habitat, maximize biological diversity and protect unique natural areas.

Photo by R. Robicheau

The Lands Management Program is also charged with creating, maintaining and improving public access infrastructure on the WMAs. These included such activities as boundary line identification and maintenance, participation in the Department’s land acquisition efforts, keeping WMAs clean from illegal dumping and assisting the public in inquiries about recreational activities.

The Lands Management Program aims to educate the private and other public ownerships about the benefits of active management for wildlife through use of the WMAs as demonstration areas where techniques and activities used by the Department can be seen in action.

Photo by R. Robicheau

In forested habitats, the primary tool for habitat management is timber harvesting. By varying the type of timber harvesting, certain forest conditions and the habitat conditions offered by those forests can be created or maintained. Whether promoting softwood cover for white-tailed deer habitat, hardwoods such as oak and beech for the mast produced by those tree species, or creating early successional habitat for grouse and woodcock - the main way to achieve this is through timber harvesting.

Current Management Activities

Photo by R. Robicheau


Jamie's Pond WMA

Beginning in the summer of 2016 the Department will commence work in the Jamie's Pond Wildlife Management area. Goals include mast tree release to increase foraging opportunities for deer, snowshoe hare and turkey, deer wintering area work to increase browse, and patch openings in aspen dominated areas to provide habitat for both grouse and woodcock. Due to the nature of the work, biological diversity will also be enhanced. The project will begin sometime around the middle of the summer and continue until the winter of 2018 eventually covering 70% of the approximately 900 acres of this WMA. In addition to enhancement of wildlife habitat, two management access roads will be constructed to facilitate completion of the work. The access improvements will also enable non-motorized recreational access following completion of the active habitat work. Read more about Jamie's Pond WMA harvest (PDF).

"Habitat management activity at Jamies Pond Wildlife will resume in mid-December and is expected to conclude before spring 2018. See map (PDF) (updated October, 2017) indicating anticipated harvest areas in the WMA.  The map indicates the areas to be operated though not every acre will see activity.  No walking trails will be closed though the public is cautioned to stay clear of equipment.  Trucking is expected is continue following operations in the woods and final closeout will occur in the summer of 2018.

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Scarborough Marsh WMA Habitat Management

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is engaged in series of habitat management projects at Scarborough Marsh designed to promote young forest.  Work will occur throughout the summer of 2017 and into the spring of 2018 and is designed to enhance habitat for the state endangered New England cottontail rabbit as well as native and migratory songbirds.  Projects range from the release of a developing shrub component over-topped by pine and hardwood species to plantings of native shrub species in old fields currently reverting from grassland to shrubs.

In the fall of 2016 Inland Fisheries and Wildlife partnered with the Wildlife Management Institute and Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge to grow native shrubs.  Over the course of the project approximately 4000 shrubs will be planted.  Rachel Carson NWR is providing bay berry, two species of dogwood, willow, Virginia rose, chokeberry, grey birch, speckled alder and native grape.  The first planting was a collaborative effort occurring in May 2017.  The second scheduled planting will occur in mid-September 2017 with the final installment in the spring of 2018.  A troop of boy scouts also planted live stakes of speckled alder in April of 2017 as well.

A harvest of timber overtopping shrubs adjacent to the planting area will occur in the winter of 2017/2018.  The removal will allow a dwindling shrub component to develop into denser habitat favorable to New England cotton tail and song bird species.  Retention and release of mast producing species such as oak, hickory, apple and black cherry will further enhance habitat by providing forage for cottontail, songbirds, deer and game bird species.

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Lt. Gordon Manuel WMA Habitat Management

The Lt. Gordon Manuel Wildlife Management Area occupies portions of the towns of Hodgdon, Cary Plantation and Linneus in Southern Aroostook County.  Management will focus on the maintenance and improvement of deer wintering area habitat, grouse and woodcock habitat and habitat for snowshoe hare.

The 400+ acre compartment of Lt. Gordon Manuel scheduled for habitat work contains favorable cover for overwintering deer but forage adjacent to it is lacking.  Habitat work will harvest some hardwood stems resulting in a flush of new browse over the course of the next few years.  Portions of the compartment also contain a strong aspen component which is preferred by ruffed grouse for cover and budding.  Management activities will also benefit snowshoe hare as the site regenerates to young forest.  Work is expected to begin in the early winter of 2017/2018 and progress through the summer of 2018.

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Kennebunk Plains WMA Habitat Management

Kennebunk Plains has been identified as an area to manage for the Northern Black Racer snake.  Black racer requires a low shrub habitat for cover and concealment from predators.  The Nature Conservancy owns land adjacent to Kennebunk Plains WMA that contains a population of black racer and management by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on its lands will serve to complement their management.

Historically, prior to acquisition by conservation groups, portions of Kennebunk Plains were managed commercially for blueberries.  Following abandonment these sites began a period of succession which included the development more shrub species such as high bush blueberry, huckleberry and sheep laurel.  As succession progressed the sites began reverting to a forest of oak species, red maple, white pine and pitch pine which is gradually shading out the shrub component favorable to black racer.

Habitat management scheduled for Kennebunk Plains features two elements, the first of which is the removal of over topping tree species to release and enhance the low shrub component.  The second element is management of pitch pine woodland.  A management plan was developed in cooperation with Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Natural Areas Program.  Pitch pine is a native hard pine species intolerant of shade which, if left undisturbed, fails to replace itself in the absence of both light and ground disturbance.  Management within areas dominated by pitch pine will serve to maintain and regenerate the species.  Activity is expected to occur during over the course of 2017 and conclude by summer of 2018.

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Ongoing Management Activities

Photo by R. Robicheau

Continuous and ongoing management activities occurring on a seasonal or yearly basis include the following:

  • Manipulation of optimum water levels for waterfowl habitat
  • Field mowing and maintenance
  • Boundary line maintenance
  • Road maintenance
  • Apple and other fruit tree maintenance
  • Herbaceous seeding

Updates (Public Meeting and Presentations)

  • A reminder that seasonal road closures in some areas will take place after the firearm deer season comes to an end. This is undertaken to protect the road infrastructure to ensure continued recreational opportunities. Please check back to see upcoming closure notices.
  • Currently there are no public meetings or presentations scheduled.