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General Information
  • Protects biological diverse wetland flora, fauna and/or their habitat
  • Supports significant numbers of wetland-dependent fauna, such as water birds or fish

Great Meadows is a large wetland/river system in a suburban area.  In addition to large portions of it being in a National Wildlife Refuge, it is easily accessible for recreation (boating and fishing); provides opportunities for education (close proximity to public and private schools); supports multiple state-listed/protected wetland species (plant and animal); is identified on Massachusetts' BioMap2 as being Core Habitat with some Critical Natural Landscape; includes Priority Natural Communities, most of it is mapped as habitat for Species of Conservation Concern, and includes a large area of Forest Core which is a Landscape Block; and includes numerous state-certified vernal pools.


Exemplary Ecosystem Services:
  • Maintains ecological connectivity/cohesion
  • Aesthetic/cultural heritage value/ provisioning
  • Recreation (birdwatching, ecotourism)
  • Storm abatement
  • Flood storage/mitigation
  • Water quality improvement
  • Education
Conservation Status and Threats
Conservation status: National Government Protection
Adjacent Land Use: Residential - medium density
Approximate natural buffer width:
  • > 100 ft
Other information:

The water quality in the river is dependent on land use upstream and much of that is heavily suburbanized and has been for decades, or even centuries.

If Other: Partial non-federal ownership however majority within National Wildlife Refuge
Approximate size: Approximately 1,600 ha (wetlands)
General wetland characterization:
  • Inland Fresh Seasonally Flooded Basin/Flat
  • Inland Fresh Meadow
  • Inland Shallow Fresh Marsh
  • Inland Deep Fresh Marsh
  • Inland Open Fresh Water
  • Inland Fresh Shrub Swamp
  • Inland Fresh Wooded Swamp
Adjacent Water Bod(ies):
  • Stream
Name of body of water: Concord River
Surficial Geology:

Swamp deposits (muck, peat, silt and sand).  Reference: Surficial Geology of the Concord Quadrangle, MA (USGS circa 1962)



Numerous due to expansive size.  Highlights from NRCS websoil survey:  Freetown muck, ponded; Saco mucky silt loam; Hinckley loamy sand

Flora and Fauna
Dominant flora: "Extensive buttonbush-dominated wetlands reflect long-term vegetational changes along both rivers. In many areas, invasive species, such as water chestnut or purple loosestrife have displaced plant species of high waterfowl value, such as bur-reed and bulrush." (USFWS website)
Dominant fauna: Muskrat, great blue heron and numerous other terrestrial and avian species (migratory and residential)
Rare fauna: American Bittern, Common Moorhen, Least Bittern, Umber Shadowdragon, Pied-billed Grebe
Additional Information
Please upload your first piece of evidence: Concord_NHESP_Report.pdf
Please upload your second piece of evidence: refugebrochure.pdf
Please upload your third piece of evidence: EasternMABrochure.pdf
concord, ma

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