CONCORD, N.H. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is giving more time for people to comment on a proposal to establish the “Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge,” in New England and New York to preserve more shrubland and young forests for numerous species, such as the New England cottontail.

People will have until April 3 to submit comments on the project.

The agency has identified areas in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. The goal is to gain up to 15,000 acres.

The agency says many areas across the Northeast have been cleared for development or have grown into mature forests. Private landowners and conservation groups have worked with state wildlife agencies to restore and protect land for 65 songbirds, mammals, reptiles and other wildlife, but more land is needed.