Here are some highlights of what is happening on the Harbor Islands this summer. Our accomplishments are due to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership and the many dedicated people who work in support of the park.
Thanks to all—see you on the islands!
Giles Parker, National Park Service
Space is limited and advance reservation are recommended. Tours meet that the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center in downtown Boston before proceeding to the ferry dock. Visitors must be eight years or older and 50" or taller to climb the tower.
MA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION — Prescribed (planned) fires are part of a long-term effort to improve the breeding ground on Lovells Island for the little black and white terns that dart into harbor waters to nab fish. The habitat restoration work will clear out dense invasive shrubs and storm-deposited debris. Eliminating the tall vegetation and trash that provide hiding and perching spots for predatory rats and raptors will make the beach area more desirable to nesting terns, which prefer wide open landscapes near the ocean edge.
The effort is being led by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) ecology program, along with staff and fire crews from DCR. The National Park Service and Boston Fire Department, as well as Massachusetts Audubon scientists and hundreds of stewardship volunteers are also contributing their time and effort to this important work.
Following burns in 2013 and 2014, additional prescribed fires and manual clean-up are continuing in 2015 and beyond. As the terns return to colonize the site, we plan to head out to the south side of Lovells Island with our binoculars to enjoy the fruits of our efforts and watch the terns peep and chatter (at a safe distance behind the protective fencing, of course)! For us, helping to make the islands an appealing home for wildlife and plants is the best part of the job.
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