Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of the many refuges along the Eastern Flyway that supports migratory birds in their annual journeys north and south.
Great Meadows is located just 20 miles west of Boston. The refuge was established in 1947 to provide nesting, resting, and feeding habitat for migratory birds. Roughly 85 percent of the refuge's 3,600 acres is comprised of valuable freshwater wetlands stretching along 12 miles of the Concord and Sudbury Rivers. Well known for its birdwatching opportunities, the public can also enjoy a variety of other wildlife-dependent recreational activities while visiting the refuge.
The Concord Unit is over 250 acres of land abutting the Concord River. It consists of two large pools of water surrounded be woodlands. This combination makes it an attractive stopping place for many different types of migratory birds and summer residents. These pools are usually called impoundments because the water level is adjusted throughout the year by refuge managers to create conditions favorable for diverse wildlife.
The draining of each pool is variably timed to benefit different groups of migrating birds. One pool is drained earlier in the season to encourage the growth of native forage plants that benefit fall-migrating waterfowl. The other pool is drained later in the summer to expose the invertebrate-rich mud flats that provide food for wading birds such as herons and egrets. Both pools are flooded in the fall and remain inundated until the following spring and summer.
The Concord Unit It is located on Monsen Road, off of Route 62, in Concord, Massachusetts, and is open from sunrise to sunset.