Main content

History of the Oxbow NWR

In 1917, Camp Devens was established, later to become Fort Devens. The Fort was carved from the towns of Harvard, Lancaster, Ayer and Shirley. Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge was established through a number of land transfers from the Department of Defense to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service beginning in 1974. The Service acquired an additional 120 acres in the Town of Harvard in 2001 and will continue to work with partners to protect additional wildlife habitat in the area.

The refuge's specific objectives are determined in the Comprehensive Conservation Planning process. The objectives include the conservation and management of migratory bird species; the restoration of wetland, grassland and forest habitats; and natural resource related education. Potential public uses of the refuge include wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, interpretation, hunting and fishing.