New England Cottontail


The New England cottontail (NEC) is a candidate for the federal “threatened species” list and has been on the “endangered” species list for the State of Maine since 2007. The species decimation has been largely blamed on the lack of adequate shrub land habitat. The Sprague Corporation has been working with both the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to foster and promote the habitats for the New England cottontail on Ram Island Farm.

A ten-year management plan was designed and adopted that established three 25-acre habitat units. Plan activities include control of invasive-type plant species (such as bittersweet and honeysuckle), patch cuts to create regenerating forest habitat, removal of overstory, native shrub planting and cutting or mowing of maturing shrub areas to promote denser re-growth. Photo monitoring has been established in selected areas to document changes in the underbrush structure as well as to monitor wildlife activity.

While this plan is still relatively new and has yet to be completed through all three test-areas, state environmentalists are optimistic with results to date. In a recent article in the Portland Press Herald, Kerry Boland, with the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, said, “Things are happening on the ground.” (Read full article here.)

As Seth Sprague, president of The Sprague Corporation, says “We like the little critters.”

Read more about the New England cottontail: