Habitat Restoration Continues at Memorial Forest

A scene from Memorial Forest, three months after the prescribed burn in 2014.
A scene from Memorial Forest, three months after the prescribed burn in 2014.

As part of a long-term project to restore pitch pine/scrub oak barrens that provide habitat for several threatened species, SVT and the City of Marlborough are planning a second prescribed burn for a section of Memorial Forest and the Desert Natural Area.

The nationally imperiled pitch pine/scrub oak habitat provides homes for many rare species. Of note at the Desert Natural Area are whip-poor-wills and wild lupine, which have been precipitously declining over the last 25 years.

In 2014, we conducted a prescribed fire on 14 acres, containing both City of Marlborough and SVT property. Two years ago, we cut, thinned, and removed trees in the area around the Desert Loop Trail at SVT’s Memorial Forest. Fifteen (15) acres around the sandpit were heavily cut and an additional 35 acres were thinned.

We are ready for the next step in the process. This year, as early as March, we will conduct two to three separate days of prescribed burns (see map of burn area). Scheduling of the burns is weather dependent.

Our consultants, Northeast Forest & Fire Management, have prepared a burn plan that has been approved by MassWildlife for restoration of rare species habitat. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has issued a burn permit. Both the Marlborough and Sudbury Fire Departments have met with our consultant and are supportive of the plan.

We will post information about the project in our kiosks on the property as well as on the project page of our website.

You can learn more about this habitat restoration project at these events:

Public Forum: Habitat Restoration at Desert Natural Area/Memorial Forest
Thursday, February 27
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Habitat Restoration Site Walk
Saturday, March 7
9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Questions? Contact:
Laura Mattei, [email protected]
Priscilla Ryder, [email protected]

To be added to our email list for regular updates on the project, including dates when a burn is anticipated, please send a request to [email protected]


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