Two key conservation areas expanded

FERRISBURGH/STARKSBORO — Wildlife enthusiasts in northern Addison County have something to be excited about. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recently closed on properties that will expand two popular wildlife management areas (WMAs).
Lower Otter Creek WMA in Ferrisburgh added 75 acres to the existing 738-acre property. The WMA consists largely of wetlands and floodplain forest near the mouth of Otter Creek. These wetlands and floodplain forests serve not only as quality waterfowl habitat, but also help to control flooding and improve water quality in Lake Champlain by mitigating the effects of nutrient loading into the lake.
The new acquisition opens up additional opportunities for birdwatchers and hunters to access land, as the new property was previously posted against all access. The property contains deer wintering habitat and is considered high-quality habitat for the federally endangered Indiana bat.
“We’re excited to continue to expand Lower Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, which is consistently a favorite destination for Vermont hunters and anglers,” said Jane Lazorchak, land acquisition coordinator for Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “In addition to being popular with wildlife enthusiasts, protecting these forests and wetlands goes a long way towards improving flood resiliency and cleaning up Lake Champlain.”
Another recent acquisition has added 20 acres to the Lewis Creek WMA in Starksboro. While the parcel is small in size, it contains three tributary streams of Lewis Creek and consists largely of mature hardwood forest.
In 2000, the 2,020-acre Lewis Creek WMA was expanded to connect with Huntington Gap WMA to form a large contiguous tract of public land. This recent addition is the result of a donation of land by two local landowners.
“We are pleased to accept this generous donation and thank these landowners for helping to preserve the future of Vermont’s wildlife and open spaces,” said Lazorchak. 

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