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Protecting nature through research, education, and outreach

Biodiversity Initiative

Biodiversity Initiative

Thank you to the following foundations for their support of the Biodiversity Initiative and the Climate Science Learning Project:

Adelard A. and Valeda Roy Foundation, Braitmayer Foundation, CHT Foundation, Dominion Education Foundation, Island Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Rogers Family Foundation, Sounds Conservancy/QLF Foundation, and Towards Sustainability Foundation.

According to the Council of Concerned Scientists, average temperature in southern New England could rise 2-4 degrees F. in the next 50 years, with concomitant increases in growing season, maximum temperatures and changes in precipitation. These changes could result in Massachusetts having a climate approaching that of present-day South Carolina. These changes will not only impact the human population directly, there will be indirect impacts as these changes alter the natural resources and biodiversity of the region. Potential changes include:

  • changes in finfish and shellfish resources;
  • changes in pollinators, pest species, and non-native invasive species;
  • changes in plant diseases;
  • changes in food webs resulting from local extirpations;
  • changes in the local aquifer;
  • changes to natural communities due to influx of southern species and loss of northern species.

The Massachusetts State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) provides a blueprint to fulfilling our responsibility to conserve Massachusetts wildlife and the places they live for future generations. Implicit in this goal is to ensure that wildlife is provided with a sufficient landscape of habitats to adapt to changing climatic conditions.

There is a wealth of regional natural resource information currently available, albeit dispersed, but there also are gaps in the current knowledge of the total biodiversity of this region. Therefore the Lloyd Center has initiated the SOUTHCOAST ALL TAXA BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVE, which will address the conservation concerns in SWAP for the Southcoast by:

  • establishing a series of monitoring stations within the Slocums River and Westport River (which includes the State’s first and only Bioreserve) watersheds that will encompass the total diversity of habitats within the two watersheds;
  • compiling all existing information on natural resource data within these watersheds and making the data available through a single source web site;
  • through grants received which helped initiate our Climate Science Learning Project involving local schools in order to help establish the current record of biodiversity within these two watersheds;
  • conducting the area’s first Biodiversity Week in the Slocums River watershed from June 11-16, 2012;
  • developing an online database.

Long-term Monitoring Sites

Significant portions of the Westport and Slocums River watersheds are under conservation, and as such, provide optimal conditions (long-term protection from development) within which to establish monitoring stations for biodiversity changes. Conservation areas within these watersheds include:

Slocums River Watershed:

  • Hobomock Swamp
  • Acushnet Cedar Swamp
  • Paskamansett River
  • Deerfield Swamp
  • Destruction Brook
  • Slocums River estuary and embayment
  • Lloyd Center property
  • Demarest Lloyd State Park
  • Little River

Westport River Watershed:

  • SE Massachusetts Bioreserve
  • Copicut Reservoir
  • Bread & Cheese Brook
  • Noquochoke Wildlife Management Area
  • Shingle Island River
  • Lake Noquochoke
  • Westport River – East Branch
  • Westport River – West Branch
  • Horseneck Beach State Reservation (DCR)

During the first year of the project, we will be focusing on the Slocums River watershed.

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