Cumberland Farms land auction could harm wildlife in the long run
Wednesday and Thursday do not bode well for Massachusetts wildlife, athletes and naturalists. Some 1,760 acres of Cumberland Farms wilderness in southeastern Massachusetts are about to be auctioned off.
Forty-two separate plots have at least 60 auction groups salivating on them. This sale could have a devastating impact on Massachusetts wildlife forever. A significant portion of the land is in the large cedar swamp. It made me think of how, years ago, Cumberland Farms managed to build a huge facility on precious wild land in the cedar swamp of Westboro.
The large auction area spans five cities, primarily in Middleboro (1,080 acres) with less acreage in Halifax, Plympton, Bridgewater and West Bridgewater. The land is considered a gold mine by the developers. It is sad that the trust affiliated with the founders of Cumberland Farms, the Haseotis family, could not have donated it to conservation, farmers, nature lovers, hunters and wildlife all benefiting forever. Locals love Chris Reedy of Reedy’s Archery in Middleboro feel helpless in the face of very wealthy forces. “Wildlife and hunting opportunities will surely be affected, and there doesn’t appear to be anything we can do about it,” he said.
The land has always been treated harshly. In the 1980s, landowners were said to have turned wetlands into farmland without permission from the US Army Corps of Engineers. In an unexpected twist, there was an unintended benefit to wildlife from this economically motivated activity. Drainage and clearcutting created the largest open prairie in southeastern Massachusetts. This rare and indispensable habitat has proven to be a sanctuary for prairie nesters, raptors such as the northern harrier, waterfowl and shorebirds.
If these lands were classified in Chapter 61 (Forestry), 61A (Agriculture) or Chapter 61B (Open Space), Cumberland Farms would have benefited from reduced taxes on these lands over the years. When land covered by these chapters is sold, the city has the right of first refusal to buy the land. (The city may transfer its right of first refusal to an eligible conservation organization.)
This land asks to be preserved in its natural state by land trusts, Mass Audubon, conservation groups and MassWildlife. Governor Baker, where is the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in its ability and willingness to step in to help save our declining open space?
If ever there was a chance for a wealthy, community-minded family to make a lasting gift for our wildlife and future generations to enjoy, this is it. The problem is, this land is worth a fortune. Is there a financial white knight with a heart and environmental conscience big enough to save this wild gem at the last moment – the way the Beaton property at Manchaug Pond in Sutton was saved?
Blooms, pollen and gives birth
Just as maple keys fall to the ground by the thousands, so rhododendrons, yellow rockets, honeysuckles, jack-in-the-pulpits and irises bloom and black vehicles turn green with pollen. Belly-heavy females also give birth synchronously for the next few weeks.
Whitetail typically leaves and hides its twin fawns for most of the day, especially in hay fields and other thickly vegetated habitats. During the first two weeks, they return briefly for two feedings. Instinctive absence for many hours at a time greatly decreases the likelihood that predators will find hatchlings almost odorless. We should now keep our dogs out of these habitats – and refrain from mistaking these fawns for orphans. Too many of them are picked up, taken away and sentenced to die as they are killed with ignorant kindness.
‘Mayflies of the sea’
For anglers looking for a special treat now, Rhode Island’s salt ponds are starting to host their annual hatching, or more technically correct, their spawning ashworms, which spend most of their time digging in the mud, but emerge to mate and inadvertently. attract the stripers.
The best fishing – really the only fishing for them – is during a full moon. The strong currents associated with the full moon apparently help distribute the eggs in more beneficial ways.
The different varieties of these slag worms can be 1 to 6 inches long and feed largely on algae. Their differences make it difficult to control the different waters that shelter them. During special lunar conditions in spring, they develop the ability to swim and mate, soon after they die. Living and dying, ashworms are the ephemeral ephemeral of the sea.
The best experiences seem to coincide with hot, sunny days, while cold, windy, and cloudy days seem to close the hatch, deterring surface mating rituals.
Jim bender shares that he was lucky to fish in the calm waters of the upper Bass River just in May and June only for a few evenings until late at night on either side of the full moon. Jim found that Rhode Island ashworms could strike during the day as well. On the Vinyard, they can inexplicably emerge during the day too.
Jim started fishing them from floating tubes when kayaks weren’t in fashion. He found the stripers to be very picky and his best imitations, made of an inch or two of red, olive, or pinkish rod and a black peacock for the head, all wrapped around a small stainless steel hook, are sometimes rejected. These worms have variations over which the stripers can become very selective. And when casting a fly or lure into a buffet of hundreds of natural worms, sometimes it pays to use a larger soft plastic lure about 3-4 inches long that stands out in your slow retrieve or drift. .
Our next full moon is Wednesday, so the next few days should be good for this outbreak. Next month will be June 24. If you are a fly fisherman who enjoys casting a light rod, the chance to hook up to a 3ft long plotter is a must see seahorse riding experience. The fact that they were drawn to the light prompted some experienced kayakers to take a lantern on board.
The Connecticut coast from Greenwich to Niantic also offers plenty of action now, including the arrival of strip keepers. But you don’t have to go far to choose goalies. The Cape Cod Canal is currently experiencing outbreaks. The full parking spaces along the canal are barometers of the quality of the fishing.
Top 25 for Siasconset Beach
Conde Nast Traveler just put Nantucket’s Siasconset Beach on its list of the 25 Best Beaches in the World – and the reasons they gave didn’t even account for the thrilling fishing there. Siasconset is on the foggy side of the island with a strong current, lots of seals – and good surfcasting too.
Storage of trout ends
Spring trout stocking is drawing to a close, peaking for Memorial Day weekend, by which all of our storable waters will have secured their allotment. With the recent heat, the best mayflies outbreaks are now appearing in the evening. … Fly fishermen hitting New York creeks report low water for this time of year, but saltwater fishermen report many stripers and large tassards moving to Long’s Back Bays Island.
Healthy harvest in RI
Shellfishers have reason to celebrate this week. For the first time in 75 years, the previously polluted Providence River is healthy enough for Rhode Island to allow harvesting of its quahogs. The river, like our Blackstone, was historically just a sewage toilet. All the massive cleanup efforts and $ 1.5 billion in investment are finally paying off.
More and more eagles
The eagle population of Worcester County is increasing. Two new nests have been documented, one on Barre Hill Pond at Harvard and another on Whalom Lake in Lunenberg. We now have 16 known nests.
There are still insects there
MassWildlife does so much for us that goes under the radar. Their challenged staff even continue to pick up an average of 100,000 pounds of trash that litter dumps in all of our Wildlife Management Areas in our District.
These pesticides do not help
There have been too many of our family members who have had to travel to Dana-Farber, UMass and other cancer treatment institutions because of carcinogens in our food, air, soil and water. Meanwhile, weakened environmental policies continued to allow the use of dangerous pesticides that are lethal to bees. There are fears that two agricultural treatments, in particular, Sivanto and Transform WG, will have lethal effects similar to the class of neonicotinoid pesticides that have been banned in the European Union and Canada – but not here. Pesticides have also been shown to impact the health and mortality of other beneficial insects.
Bumblebees and lacewings, for example, are severely affected. These pesticides also have many sublethal effects, including insect reproducibility and feed efficiency. One of the reasons for the loss of 3 billion birds in North America since 1970 is the decline of our insects. We need to understand their fundamental importance in the food chain. And if we don’t recognize and protect the 4,000 species of bees native to North America, there will be dire consequences for pollination, which is essential for all of us.
—Contact Mark Blazis at [email protected]