September 20, 2016

IFW News -- IFW To Create More Habitat For New England Cottontails, Other Species In Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2016

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold an informational meeting and site visit to discuss creating more habitat for the New England cottontail rabbit, a State Endangered species, as well as other species in the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

IFW wildlife biologists will be at the Scarborough Municipal Building on Tuesday, September 27 from 6-8 to discuss the management plans. There will a site visit on Friday, September 30 that begins at 9 a.m. at the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management parking area on the Manson Libby Road across from Black Point Auto.

New England Cottontails were once a common sight from Kittery to Belfast, but as old fields turned to forest, and farmland became developed, habitat for this this distinctively New England species diminished and their numbers plummeted. New England cottontails need shrublands and young forests to thrive.

In upland portions of the Scarborough WMA, IFW has been managing for species that benefit from a young, regenerating forest since 2011 when 21 acres of the WMA was cut, and portions of the meadows and fields were left to regenerate to shrublands. Scarborough Marsh is the only IFW management area with documented New England cottontail use.

Within the upland area of the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area along Manson Libby Road and the Eastern Trail, IFW plans to improve habitat for New England cottontails through the removal of trees in certain portions of the WMA, planting shrubs, and minimizing the spread of invasive plants. The timber removal will occur in January and/or February 2017. The result of the project will be producing young forest habitat that will benefit a number of other species such as cottontails, yellow warblers, eastern towhees, and American woodcock.

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