September 14, 2020. – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, along with a broad array of supporters, allies and partners, is commemorating a century of protecting and improving land in Vermont for wildlife species and those who care for them.
In 1920, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department purchased 1,000 acres of land at the estuary of the Lamoille River, creating the Sandbar Waterfowl Refuge, that ultimately became the state’s first wildlife management area (WMA). On Thursday, September 10, current and former department employees gathered there with partners representing other organizations around Vermont to commemorate the last century of protecting wild lands. The event featured speakers from Fish & Wildlife, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Audubon, and Tom Berry from Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office.
Department biologists then attendees on a guided walk through the WMA to discuss and observe active habitat improvement projects such as prescribed burns, timber harvests, grassland restoration, and waterfowl management. The gathering recognized the key partnerships and funding sources that have contributed to the conservation of approximately 135,000 acres across Vermont’s WMAs since 1920, concluding with the acquisition of the department’s 100th WMA in Shrewsbury on August 3, 2020.
“Owning and managing wildlife management areas are vitally important to meeting our mission, which is to protect and conserve the fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “These areas represent some of the most unique habitats and natural communities in Vermont and exemplify a century’s worth of foresight and thoughtful management to conserve Vermont’s wildlife and natural heritage. Together with our partners, we take great pride in protecting the intrinsic value of these habitats and their wildlife and providing all Vermonters with access to public land and natural resources for hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife watching, and nature photography among other uses.”
Conservation and management of all WMAs is funded through sporting license sales, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund, and the Vermont Habitat Stamp. Private donations both directly and through conservation organizations, as well as the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Federal funding for wetland restoration and recreation as well as other sources have also contributed essential support to this effort.
Join the effort and help continue wildlife conservation with your own Vermont Habitat Stamp: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/vthabitatstamp