This more than 1,400-acre property includes airfields, runways, towers, hangars and residential buildings. It has been managed as a Naval Air Base with permanent structures and landing strips since the early 1950s. Two areas within the base stand out as significant areas for birds. The southern portion of the base (Mere Brook and the surrounding wetlands) is characterized by high and low marsh habitats in an unusually large and unfragmented block. Because the area is on the Naval Air Station, the saltmarsh itself has very little human visitation or disturbance. A series of weapons bunkers and service roads are visible from the marsh in the uplands to the east. The second area within the base that is particularly valuable to birds is the northwestern portion that contains primarily grasslands (maintained in part by mowing for airstrips) as well as patches of pitch pine forest.

Ornithological Summary

Extensive airfields at this site are maintained as grassland habitat and are home to nesting Upland Sandpipers, Horned Larks, Bobolinks, Eastern Towhees, Eastern Meadowlarks, Grasshopper Sparrows, Field Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows. The site also has one of the highest concentrations of Savannah Sparrows recorded in the state. For its size, Mere Brook supports good numbers of both species of Sharp-tailed Sparrows. Herons, egrets, and numerous swallows forage here as well. Northern Goshawks have been observed at this site.

Conservation Issues

Contamination of ground water and soils from pesticides and fuel has been significantly reduced due to extensive clean-up efforts in the 1990s. Long-term monitoring is planned for the site. However, the base has been decommissioned and is due to close within the next ten years. Future ownership and management of this site is therefore unknown, but the likelihood of sustaining extensive grassland habitat is unlikely without extensive conservation efforts.

Ownership

The site is owned by the Department of Defense. There is no public access without extensive security clearance.

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