Recently, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles announced the purchase of 245 acres of land on Red Brook in Wareham and Plymouth that will protect one of the most diverse fish and wildlife habitats in the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) acquired the land, known as Century Bog, from A.D. Makepeace Company for $3 million. The acquisition - through conservation and ongoing ecological restoration - will protect the Red Brook watershed and protect habitat for 11 rare species, several kinds of fish and other wildlife.
The property consists of 176 acres in Wareham and 69 acres in Plymouth, beginning at the southern end of White Island Pond and linking to MassWildlife's 673-acre Red Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Combining the Red Brook WMA acreage with the adjacent 210-acre Lyman Reserve owned by The Trustees of Reservations, the Century Bog acquisition now helps to permanently protect 883 acres of contiguous land, from the headwaters of Red Brook all the way to Buttermilk Bay, a shallow estuary located at the head of Buzzards Bay. Funding for the acquisition comes from the $1.7 billion Energy and Environment Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in August 2008.
"This important partnership with A.D. Makepeace is our latest success," said Secretary Bowles. "This project will protect critical habitats, conserve coastal land and help to continue ongoing ecological restoration efforts, and is in line with our efforts to protect 54,000 acres of land across the Commonwealth in the past two years - the equivalent of 74 acres per day."
"This is the most important acquisition for the agency this year," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin, who added that DFG plans to develop a comprehensive restoration plan for the property that includes consideration of climate change adaptation strategies. "Conservation and restoration of the Red Brook watershed will ensure the protection of one of the remaining native sea-run brook trout streams in Massachusetts, as well as habitat for a variety of fish and 11 plants and insects recorded on MassWildlife's list of endangered, threatened, and special concern species."
A.D. Makepeace - the world's largest cranberry grower and the largest private landowner in eastern Massachusetts - has been an active participant in ongoing habitat restoration efforts on Red Brook. During the term of a six-year lease agreement, the company has agreed to provide further restoration services on the property. A.D. Makepeace also has the right to continue its cranberry operations at the 70-acre Century Bog for five years.
This is the Commonwealth's second major land conservation effort in partnership with A.D. Makepeace in the past year. In July 2009, state officials and A.D Makepeace celebrated a three-phase project to preserve of thousands of acres of critical habitat and open space in southeastern Massachusetts.
"The A.D. Makepeace Company, and particularly the many avid anglers on our staff, have long recognized that the Century Bog property is a unique habitat," said A.D. Makepeace President and CEO Michael P. Hogan. "We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Commonwealth as well as Trout Unlimited and the Trustees of Reservations to ensure the long-term protection of the many wildlife species which live in the area."