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Great Thicket Officially Becomes the 566th National Wildlife Refuge!

On Wednesday, January 18th, the Nature Conservancy in the Town of Dover NY, approved the donation of a 144-acre parcel of grassland habitat, known as the Nellie Hill Preserve, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to officially make Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge the 566th refuge of the National Wildlife Refuge System. In President Obama’s term, 14 refuges have been added to the National Wildlife Refuge System, one Marine National Monument was created in the Atlantic Ocean and two other Marine National Monuments in the Pacific – originally created by President Bush – were expanded. Quite a conservation legacy!

About Great Thicket NWR

In October of last year, the FWS finalized plans to acquire 15,000 acres of grassland and shrubland habitat that would encompass land in New York, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Why is this important?

Refuge Association Board Member Kathy Woodward, left, visits Great Thicket NWR.
Refuge Association Board Member Kathy Woodward, left, visits Great Thicket NWR.

Intact shrubland and grassland habitat is critical to conserve species such as the American woodcock, prarie warbler, monarch butterflies, the imperiled New England Cottontail, and the endangered Northern red-bellied cooter. The Town of Dover will receive a payment through the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Refuge Revenue Sharing program. The Refuge Association is urging Congress to appropriate additional funds for the revenue sharing program, which has been severely underfunded in recent years.

The FWS will continue to work with states, conservation partners and landowners to acquire more land for Great Thicket NWR. We are very excited about the new addition to the National Wildlife Refuge System. We will continue to work with partners and stakeholders in the region to empower the American public to visit and protect our public lands.

To learn more about the importance of Great Thicket NWR, please read our former blog post by Northeast Regional Representative, Joe McCauley.

To learn more about the economic benefits of National Wildlife Refuges, please read the 2015 Banking on Nature Report from the FWS.

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/2017/01/great-thicket-officially-becomes-the-566th-national-wildlife-refuge/

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