Aquidneck Land trust conserves Portsmouth farmland [update]

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.03.14 PM.pngThe Aquidneck Land Trust and the Faria family of Portsmouth announced the conservation of ten acres of farmland in a release this afternoon.

The Faria property, which is located on the easterly side of Jepson Lane, comprises two lots with a combined acreage of approximately 14.6 acres. The conserved portion of the property is actively farmed and directly adjacent to Sisson Pond, within the Sisson Pond watershed. Sisson Pond is one of Aquidneck Island's seven public drinking water reservoirs. The Faria property slopes east to Sisson Pond; if it were developed into the 7 house lots a hypothetical subdivision plan shows, polluted runoff from the houses and pavement would drain directly into Sisson Pond.

The Faria property also has significant agricultural, wildlife habitat, watershed protection and scenic values. Strategically located within ALT's Center Island Greenway, the property is contiguous with approximately 294 acres of land previously conserved by ALT, including farmland to the north and Sisson and St. Mary's ponds to the east.

"Development in our watersheds has increased over the years, adding more houses and roads where forests and fields once were. Maintaining this property as open space, and others like it, is critical to protecting the quality of our drinking water supplies on Aquidneck Island. This conservation easement also protects prime farmland, so much of which we have lost on Aquidneck Island. ALT is all about protecting farming as a way of life and protecting local sources of food production. It's safe to say the current drought in California has made it apparent that we need to be conscious and vigilant about local sources for our food." said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of the Aquidneck Land Trust.

A representative of the Faria family stated. "We are certain that our parents would be proud to know that we have worked with ALT to preserve the land they loved so much. We all worked together as a family on this land, and the decision to keep it as farmland was the right choice for all of us."

ALT wishes to thank our partners in this project: the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Town of Portsmouth, both of whom have made a lasting difference by supporting the conservation of this important watershed parcel.

The conservation easement on the Faria's land is a perpetual legal agreement that will ensure the property is not further subdivided or developed, while allowing sustainable, productive agricultural use of the land. ALT will be responsible for ensuring that the terms of the conservation easement are upheld with current and future owners of the property.

ALT's time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,450.66 acres on 71 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation.

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Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Editorial note 3/24/14: Corrected an error in this press release to read "Jepson Lane" rather than "Hedly Street," per email from ALT press contact Jessica Pohl