Noquochoke Wildlife Management Area, Bristol County, Massachusetts

About Noquochoke WMA

Noquochoke WMA covers 255 acres. It lies between New Bedford and Fall River in the town of Dartmouth in southern Massachusetts. Shingle Island River forms the WMA’s western boundary. The largely flat terrain features abandoned farm fields and an old gravel extraction area, along with wetlands, grass fields, and woods. The WMA is essentially surrounded by slow-flowing streams and associated wetlands.

Tree species include gray birch, red maple, white pine, pitch pine, and alder. Exotic shrubs – particularly multiflora rose and autumn olive – have invaded the former farmland.

Managers work to suppress the invasives while maintaining and improving shrubland, grassland, and wetland habitats to help American woodcock, chestnut-sided warbler, blue-winged warbler, gray catbird, brown thrasher, Eastern towhee, Eastern meadowlark, American bittern, Northern harrier, spotted turtle, Eastern box turtle, marbled salamander, and several uncommon invertebrates including the frosted elfin butterfly and the chain dot geometer moth.

Improving the Land for Woodcock

Extensive work has been done on this WMA through the Upland Habitat Management Program of the Massachusetts Divison of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). This program promotes biodiversity by restoring abandoned fields and creating other open and young-forest habitats, which are increasingly rare components of the landscape in Massachusetts and northeastern North America.


Timber harvesting on Noquochoke WMA has set back forest habitat to a younger age.

On Noquochoke, biologists and land managers identified five separate units totaling 67 acres. In 2009 they began using various techniques to create and restore shrubland and young-forest habitat: timber harvesting with a feller-buncher (a tracked machine that cuts, bunches, and lays trees on the ground); thinning shrubs and the tree canopy to let light reach low-growing vegetation; controlled burning; mowing; and applying herbicides to kill invasive shrubs, which encourages the growth of native shrubs such as dogwood, winterberry, and blueberry.

Habitat improvement measures will continue through winter 2013. The management regime is creating excellent singing and displaying habitat for male woodcock; enhancing feeding and brood-rearing cover; and preserving adequate roosting cover.

Funding and Partners

Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Ruffed Grouse Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Wildlife Management Institute.

How to Visit

Noquochoke WMA has a good clear trail leading south from a parking area along Hixville Road, about a mile south of the village of Hixville. The WMA lies north of interchange 11 on Interstate 195.

For more information contact David Scarpitti, Upland Game Bird Biologist, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westborough, MA 01581, 508-389-6300 x 6377, email

Download a map at

See for information on MassWildlife’s Upland Habitat Management Program.