How will the BlueWave Industrial Facility affect the grasshopper sparrow?
savannarum) is listed as threatened by the State of Massachusetts.
Threatened species are native species which are
likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, or which are
declining or rare as determined by biological research and inventory. Click
here to view the threatened species list.
Grasshopper Sparrow is a small, secretive sparrow that is more often heard than seen. It depends on dense grasses for foraging and nesting cover. The nest is built on the ground at the base of a clump of vegetation and consists of a deep cup of stems and grasses with over-hanging vegetation creating a dome with a side entrance. Pairs will raise 2 to 3 broods per year and will construct a new nest each time. Young leave the nest after 9 to 10 days but are unable to fly. They run or walk along the ground in dense cover to avoid disturbance. Threats to the grasshopper sparrow population include loss of nests due to mowing of fields during the nesting season.
Facility will cover the majority of the existing landfill with
concrete and gravel. It is not clear how much of the existing dense
vegetation, which is critical for nesting and the protection of the
fledglings, will be preserved. Mowing is necessary to properly
maintain the industrial facility. An environmental impact analysis
is needed before impacts to the grasshopper sparrow can be
understood. This analysis should consider the possibility that the
species could be listed as endangered within the next 30 years. The
analysis also should consider impacts from maintenance activities,
lights, noise, and other issues associated with an active industrial
The April 7, 2010
Request for Advisory Opinion sent by the Town of Amherst to the
Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (click
here to view the document) contains the following language about
habitat disturbance and restoration:
Temporary Habitat Disturbance and Habitat Restoration
corrective maintenance required on this site cannot be completed
without direct disturbance to vegetated areas and existing Grasshopper
Sparrow habitat on the Landfill site. A Massachusetts Endangered
Species Act (MESA) Project Review is currently being completed and will
be submitted to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for review.
The Town has had preliminary discussions with a wildlife biologist at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to identify measures that will be implemented to minimize and mitigate impacts to the habitat. These measures include phasing of the proposed work to, limit the area of disturbance, retain greater areas of existing established vegetation and habitat, promote the rapid reestablishment of vegetation and habitat and reduce the potential for erosion and sedimentation. The site will be covered with sandy loam and seeded with a New England Warm Season Grass Mix, resulting in ideal habitat for the sparrow.
addition, The Town of Amherst will be consulting with local bird expert
Mr. Harvey Allen during the implementation of this project. Mr. Allen
would be willing to inform the Department of Public Works to the
arrival of the Grasshopper Sparrow in the spring, identify current
nesting sites that may be located within the impending work area, and
provide information on the departure of the sparrow in the fall. The
information provided to the Town would allow the Department of Public
Works to adjust the location of the work area within each phase of the
project as well as make adjustments to the timing of the grading and
This project proposes only limited temporary impacts to the Priority Habitat located on the Old Landfill site. Once this project is completed the landfill vegetation and habitat will be reestablished and the current site maintenance practices will resume.
A fact sheet on the
prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation can be found at the following link:
The following link
provides a fact sheet prepared by the Massachusetts Division of
Fisheries and Wild Life: