|The Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge
The Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge, Inc., is a non-profit, educational organization that owns approximately 330 acres of land between Interstate 91 and the Connecticut River in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. It is part of a larger area of approximately 1170 acres which includes Conservation and other land owned by the Town of Longmeadow and privately owned land.
The Refuge is located at the corner of Bark Haul Road and Pondside Road in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. It can be accessed from Longmeadow Street (Rt. 5) via either Emerson Road or Bark Haul Road. There are cleared hiking trails, but they are not handicapped accessible, and may be wet or muddy. Deer ticks are prevalent. Dogs must be leashed at all times. Motor vehicles are prohibited. See below for a map of the refuge.
Access to the Refuge is free, but tax-deductible
donations for the upkeep and improvement of the Refuge are always welcome.
Send contributions to:
Treasurer, The Fannie Stebbins Refuge
4 Park Place
West Hartford CT 06110
You can also become a member of the Refuge by joining the Allen Bird Club. Click here to join.
The area known as Longmeadow Flats, comprised of the Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge and the adjoining Town of Longmeadow Conservation Land, lies along the Connecticut River and contains the largest and highest-quality patch of floodplain forest known in Massachusetts. This and other areas provide key habitat for the Endangered Riverine Clubtail dragonfly, several rare plant species, and Bald Eagles. The adjacent wetlands and undeveloped uplands also provide significant habitat for Spotted Turtles and rare wetlands birds such as the Common Moorhen and American Bittern.
Major-River Floodplain Forests are dominated by Silver Maple. This community type is found along the floodplains of large rivers. The soils here are enriched with nutrients brought by annual floods, resulting in a diversity of plants and insects. In this area, there is also an unusual Connecticut Valley variant of a Sandplain Grassland natural community. Sandplain Grasslands are found on rolling plains and generally occur on sandy, dry, poor soils. Larger examples of this community type are found near the ocean.
The very high-quality floodplain community within this area
supports several rare plant
species, including: Many-Fruited False Loosestrife, Narrow-Leaved Spring Beauty, Winged Monkey-Flower, and Swamp Dock.
This area includes a 3.5-km stretch of the Connecticut River plus the undeveloped uplands of the Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge to the east, both of which are habitat for the Riverine Clubtail dragonfly. Because of the excellent dispersal ability of individuals, this population of Riverine Clubtail dragonflies probably extends along most of the relatively rural sections of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts; however, undeveloped uplands and riverfront such as this area are especially important for feeding and provide shelter for roosting.
This area encompasses floodplain forests, emergent wetlands, and adjacent agricultural fields along the shores of the Connecticut River in Longmeadow. Emergent marshes provide habitat for Common Moorhen and other wetland birds. Wet meadows, forested and shrub wetlands, and adjacent uplands provide significant habitat for Spotted Turtles. Forested areas on both the eastern and western shores of the river provide feeding and perching habitat for wintering and non-breeding Bald Eagles. Because this is one of the largest remaining patches of floodplain forests and wetlands remaining along this heavily human-impacted section of the Connecticut River, it also provides important migration habitat for numerous species of birds.
The Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior and an Important Bird Area by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.