WALES, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has awarded $483,922 in grant funding to organizations across the Commonwealth, including the Norcross Wildlife Foundation (NWF) in Wales which will use the funding to control invasive species at Chapin Meadow.

The foundation has been awarded a total of $21,185 to help control the population of several invasive plant species in Chapin Meadow. The meadow is a 114-acre parcel located in Wales and Monson that is owned and managed by NWF. The Chapin Meadow is part of 8,000+ acres of forest, meadows, vernal pools, wetlands and pine forests that are maintained to protect native plants and animals. The meadow contains several habitats that are very important to Massachusetts wildlife.

The area has seen a history of agricultural use, timber harvesting, fire suppression, and the spread of invasive plant species which has affected the natural habitat. Invasive plant species include:

  • Small to moderate amount:
    • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
    • Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
    • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
    • Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)
  • Large amount:
    • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
    • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
    • Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

NWF will use the state funding for a multi-year project to help restore these habitats and increase their resilience to climate change and improve the habitat for rare and endangered species of plants and animals that rely on the meadow. The goal of the project will be to convert the pastures into dry native grassland.

“This is an innovative project for the region and for us, emphasizing a new more active approach to managing the Foundation’s wildlife sanctuary with the impacts of climate change and other adverse environmental factors in mind,” Executive Director Ed Hood told 22News.

Twelve other organizations across the Commonwealth will also be receiving funding to improve wildlife habitat for more than 514 acres of land. The Berkshire Natural Resources Council in Great Barrington will receive $33,875 to help control invasive species in the Housatonic River watershed.

“Our natural resources are one of the most prized possessions we have here in the Berkshires,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox). “I am grateful to the Baker-Polito administration’s continued investment in our outdoor spaces, and I look forward to seeing the great work that the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and Stockbridge Bowl Association do with this round of MHMGP funding.”

“MassWildlife restores and manages habitats to help conserve the great diversity of wildlife and plants found in the Commonwealth,” said Mark Tisa, MassWildlife Director. “In addition to MassWildlife’s habitat management activities, these funded projects will improve declining habitats that provide homes for our most vulnerable wildlife, while also enhancing everyone’s ability to connect with nature.”