Dinah Rowbotham, Land Protection Program Assistant
In Wendell, Mass Audubon is rounding the bend on a project that will protect 15 additional acres at Whetstone Wood Wildlife Sanctuary! The soon-to-be protected land is mostly surrounded by the existing sanctuary, which is managed by Mass Audubon as a wildland and is not prepared for public visitation. Because this land enhances the sanctuary so well, has been identified by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as BioMap Supporting Natural Landscape, and consists of excellent habitat for interior forest species like moose and bobcat, it has been identified as highest priority for protection in the sanctuary protection plan for Whetstone Wood.
The landowner and Mass Audubon have worked together to carefully structure this project so that both the landowner, who will continue to reside on a portion of the protected property, and Mass Audubon shall meet their goals for the conservation of the land and habitat. Mass Audubon is purchasing 10 acres–-the northernmost 5 acres and the southernmost 5 acres–-of the property in fee to add to our surrounding landholdings at Whetstone Wood, and protecting the remaining 5 acres which will remain in private ownership and contains the landowner’s residence with a conservation restriction. The conservation restriction on the remaining 5 acres has been carefully written to protect part of the property as undisturbed wildlands, yet specifically defines and details a residential area that accommodates the conservation-minded landowner’s home and living activities.
The photos below were taken earlier this week when I was at the property to help prepare the baseline report for the conservation restriction and complete the site inspection for the land we will acquire in fee.