Category Archives: Valencia Property

Tying up loose ends

Dinah Rowbotham, Land Protection Program Assistant

Three land protection projects featured on this blog, our project in Norfolk, the Valencia project, and the Almy project, have closed and are now permanently protected! To refresh your memory on which land parcels I’m referring to, here’s a quick run-down on how these three projects enhance Mass Audubon’s sanctuary system:

Our project in Norfolk has brought 7 additional acres to Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. The land was given to us by the developer of an adjacent parcel, who was motivated by the Planning Board and their new Open Space Subdivision rules. The newly protected land is upland pine-oak woods which partly surround Bristol Pond.

The Valencia project was a gift of 0.70 acres of wetlands mostly surrounded by Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. The parcel was created when a house was built on an adjacent lot, and this piece was left over as a remnant. The little parcel of land fits beautifully into our sanctuary, and we’re very grateful that it’s former owner donated it to become permanently protected habitat.

Lastly, the Almy project is a new 5.7-acre conservation restriction adjacent to Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. The protected land consists of upland pasture that was identified as a priority for protection by Mass Audubon in our sanctuary protection plan and consists of both high quality habitat and a scenic landscape.

Making progress on several fronts

Charlie Wyman, Senior Land Protection Specialist

We’ve made good progress lately on several projects reported on in recent months:

Western Mass Electric Company.  On Monday evening the Agawam City Council voted unanimously to approve these two conservation restrictions, totaling 65 acres at two sites, following Conservation Commission approval in late March. Western Mass. Electric is working to wrap up a few final permitting issues with the Corps of Engineers and the state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, with hopes of completing the process and conveying the conservation restrictions this summer and initiating construction in the fall. Our crew heads out next Wednesday to gather baseline documentation (pictures, GPS locations of boundary points, etc.) that will help our stewardship staff monitor the property going forward.

Almy Property.  This 5.7-acre conservation restriction nestled against Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Dartmouth and other protected land will be placed on record any day now. The CR has been approved by the Dartmouth Select Board and by the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and is awaiting the blessing of the Dartmouth Planning Board as part of the Board’s approval of the family’s 3-lot Open Space Residential Design subdivision.

Valencia Property.  The gift of this 2/3-acre bit of wetland surrounded on three sides by our Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester is a couple of steps closer to completion. Earlier this month I walked the property with Deb Cary and Martha Gach from the sanctuary staff as part of our routine evaluation of any contamination risk from oil or hazardous waste. The property passed with flying colors and we had a nice conversation with one of our prospective neighbors to boot.  A draft purchase-and-sale agreement is circulating.

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Above: Mass Audubon staff Deb Cary and Martha Gach on the proposed Valencia gift.

 

A little piece of habitat

Dinah Rowbotham, Land Protection Program Assistant

A friend of ours likes to talk about the little pieces of land “that hold the world together” – parcels that aren’t spectacular in and of themselves, but are an essential part of the matrix that gives larger conservation areas their ecological, scenic and recreational value.  One such parcel has just been generously offered as a gift to Mass Audubon—a 2/3-acre bit of wetlands and forest surrounded on three sides by Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester.  The property is a remnant left over after a house was developed on an adjoining lot.  Regardless of its size, this little tract of land will be enlarging the expanse of permanently protected habitat overseen by Mass Audubon, helping to hold this part of the world together—for which, we are very grateful.

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Skunk Cabbage at Broad Meadow Brook, photo by Russ Garre