LAND STEWARDSHIP ZONING
WBNERR utilizes DCR’s Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines to consistently direct land management policy on Reserve lands. The three zone designations guide the level of activity allowed in various areas of the Reserve and assist Reserve staff with balancing research, education and recreation activities with resource protection by restricting inappropriate activities and directing higher impact activities away from more sensitive areas. Structures and activities associated with research, education, stewardship, facilities management and recreation are limited based on zone. Zone 1 designated areas are comparable to the NOAA NERRS “core area” designation. Zone 2 and Zone 3 areas combined are comparable to the NOAA NERRS “buffer area” designation.
DCR defines the three zones as follows.
Zone 1 is the most restrictive zone. This zone includes unique, exemplary and highly sensitive resources and landscapes that require special management approaches and practices to protect and preserve the special features and values identified in the specific Resource Management Plan. Examples of these resources include rare species habitat identified by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as being highly sensitive to human activities, fragile archaeological or cultural sites, and unique or exemplary natural communities. Management objectives emphasize protecting these areas from potentially adverse disturbances and impacts. Research and education activities are permitted in Zone 1 but with careful supervision from Reserve staff to ensure protection of sensitive resources. The Reserve includes 459 acres designated Zone 1, or “core area”.
Zone 2 includes areas containing typical yet important natural and cultural resources on which common forestry practices and dispersed recreational activities can be practiced at sustainable levels that do not degrade these resources and that hold potential for improving their ecological health, productivity and/or protection through active management. Examples include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems characterized by a diversity of wildlife and plant habitats, rare species habitat that is compatible with sustainable forestry and dispersed recreation, agricultural resources, and resilient cultural sites and landscapes. Zone 2 areas may be actively managed provided that the management activities are consistent with the approved Resource Management Plan for the property. The Reserve includes 803 acres designated Zone 2.
Zone 3 includes constructed or developed administrative, maintenance and recreation sites, structures and resilient landscapes which accommodate concentrated use by recreational visitors and require intensive maintenance by DCR staff. Examples include areas developed and deemed appropriate for park headquarters and maintenance areas, parking lots, swimming pools and skating rinks, paved bikeways, swimming beaches, campgrounds, playgrounds and athletic fields, parkways, golf courses, picnic areas and pavilions, concessions, and areas assessed to be suitable for those uses. The Reserve includes 24 acres designated Zone 3, which combined with the 803 acres designated Zone 2 make up a “buffer area” of 827 acres.
Significant Feature Overlays supplement the three land stewardship zones to identify specific resource features. These significant features are generally identified through an inventory process or research and are formally designated. The purpose of these overlays is to provide more precise management guidance for identified resources and to recognize, maintain, protect or preserve unique and significant features, regardless of the zone in which they occur. Examples of significant feature overlays include Forest Reserves, areas subject to public drinking water regulations, or areas subject to historic preservation restrictions. The types of Significant Feature Overlays applied to the WBNERR lands include Protected Species Habitat Areas (which are based on the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program Priority Habitat maps) and Cultural Resource Areas (for historic and archaelogical values).
The Protected Species Habitat Area Significant Feature Overlays apply to several different Reserve properties for protection of habitat of a variety of protected rare plant and animal species. Protected Species Habitat Overlays are designated at the Headquarters Area, Quashnet River Area, Abigail Brook Area, South Cape Beach Area, and Washburn Island. Management activities within these overlay areas are done with consultation from staff of the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP). A Protected Species Habitat Overlay is located at the Headquarters Area because of the presence of the federally endangered plant Agalinis Acuta. Public access is limited from this area year round, a specific mowing regime (mowing only in December and June) is applied, and annual monitoring is performed. South Cape Beach and Washburn Island contain Protected Species Habitat Overlays for federally and state listed nesting shorebirds. Public access is limited from these locations with symbolic fencing and signage during the nesting season. Pets are restricted from the vicinity between April and September. Reserve staff and volunteers monitor nesting activity daily, educate visitors and recreational users, and when appropriate set up predator exclosure devices to protect nest sites. Protected Species Habitat Overlays at the Abigail Brook Area and the Quashnet River Area are designated for an assemblage of moths and butterflies that are rare within Massachusetts. These species are dependent on early successional habitat in coastal pine barren and pine-oak woodland habitats. Management activities for these locations, such as selective cutting and prescribed burning, are being evaluated with input from NHESP.
The Cultural Resource Area Significant Feature Overlays apply to the entirety of the Headquarters Area, Childs River Area, and Washburn Island. This designation exists on Washburn Island because of documented prehistoric Native American sites and the historic remains on the island (including World War II era military remains). The designation exists at the Headquarters and Childs River Areas because of documented prehistoric Native American sites and the National Historic Register landmarks associated with the Sargent Estate (now the headquarters facilities) and the Waquoit Village National Historic District. Any proposed major projects and development activities will be reviewed by a DCR cultural resource expert.
The area of the Reserve that has been designated as the Waquoit Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) should also be considered a Significant Feature Overlay. This overlay is not shown as such on the series of Figures 9-14 showing Land Stewardship Zoning. However, the boundary of the ACEC is shown on Figure 15, and the specific ACEC regulatory performance standards and requirements are described on pages 84 through 89.
General management guidelines for each of the three management zones are included in the Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines (see Appendix D). WBNERR staff participated in the development of the guidelines and will manage Reserve lands accordingly. A brief description of how Land Stewardship Zoning is applied to Reserve lands and waters follows.
Headquarters and Childs River Areas
South Cape Beach Area
Quashnet River Area (including the 10 acre satellite “Phinney Property”)
Abigail Brook Area
North Quashnet Area
|Back to top|