Vol. III No. 19 10/1/2022
What is Kampoosa Bog?
The first part is largely reprinted from the Commonwealth's mass.gov website. The infographic and article were written by Patrick White
Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin ACEC
Approximate Acreage: 1,350
Municipalities: Lee, Stockbridge
The Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin has been identified by the Commonwealth as an Area of Critical Enviromental Concern (ACEC). The calcareous fen is approximately 1,350 acres in size and is located in the towns of Stockbridge (1,125 acres) and Lee (225 acres). The Kampoosa drainage basin is part of the larger Housatonic River watershed.
The heart of the ACEC is Kampoosa Bog and its associated surface waters, wetlands, groundwater and rare species habitat. Scientifically, Kampoosa is not a bog, but a fen, contained in a small basin (the Kampoosa drainage basin), with an inflow of calcareous cold groundwater. Scientists refer to Kampoosa Bog technically as a Lake Basin Graminoid (grass-like) Calcareous Fen. Due to the critical ecological importance of surface and ground water to the fen and the high concentration of rare species found there, the boundary of the ACEC is designed to approximate the sub-drainage basin of Kampoosa Bog.
The Kampoosa Bog ACEC contains one of the Commonwealth's most significant rare species habitats. The fen and adjacent areas within the ACEC provide habitat for at least 19 state-listed rare species, within a relatively small area of 1,350 acres. According to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Kampoosa Bog supports not only a very high number of state-listed rare species, but provides habitat for several rare species that are found at very few other sites in Massachusetts. According to the Natural Heritage Program, "preserving the integrity of this calcareous fen is critical to maintaining one of the premier rare species sites in Massachusetts." The Nature Conservancy has given Kampoosa a global ranking in terms of its significance, meaning it is imperiled throughout its range due to rarity or highly vulnerable to extinction due to biological factors, and requires "the highest priority for protection."
Highly significant archaeological resources are also located within the ACEC, determined by the Massachusetts Historical Commission as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Following ACEC designation, the Kampoosa Stewardship Committee was formed by a variety of local, regional and state private and public agencies and organizations, as well as interested citizens, to preserve and restore the resources of the ACEC by fostering community stewardship.
Water bodies included (partially or entirely) in the ACEC
Lakes, Ponds: Kampoosa Pond (Stockbridge); other small, unnamed ponds (Stockbridge, Lee)
Brooks, Creeks: Kampoosa Brook, Marsh Brook (Stockbridge), other small, unnamed brooks (Stockbridge)
Map of Kampoosa. Infographic: Patrick White
Rebuilding the Kampoosa Bog Stewardship Committee
Judy Spencer was one of the key drivers to steward the Bog, and she, Arthur Dutil, Jess Toro and many others made great contributions to the management of not only the Bog but the large group of stakeholders that must be coordinated.
These include Mass DOT to confirm they are using reduced salt strategies, NHESP for long-term research and treatment of the Phragmites, abutters who are the eyes and ears and can give us a heads up if something seems remiss, as Roberta Skowron has on multiple occasions.
With her passing in 2011, the Committee disbanded and the stewardship largely stopped. With Ice Glen, we witnessed how a lack of forest planning can have grave consequences for a natural treasure. Organizations can't leave issues unaddressed for 10-15 years without losing a lot of institutional memory.
We will have to wait and see what damage is done and celebrate the folks who want to get the Kampoosa stewardship efforts back on track.
I am quite pleased that yet another area where the town had lost its resolve to get things done, the narrative is changing and seems to be giving way to an attitude of teamwork and renewal. In the past few years, we have revived the Agricultural and Forestry, launched a Housing Trust Fund, rekindled the Kampers, and expanded our efforts in climate with the MVP program. Oh, and we are trying to build a new high school, fix our bridges, and do all of the day-to-day that is required to manage the town.
We've gone from a town where we were having trouble finding volunteers to serve, to where we are easily filling all the positions.
A friend of mine says, "many hands make light work." Ain't that the truth.