Aquidneck Land Trust announces newly conserved Portsmouth space on Sakonnet Greenway

The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) announced today the acquisition of a perpetual conservation easement on a 14-acre horse farm and woods off Mitchell's Lane in Portsmouth. The land, owned by C. William Welch, is located next to other conserved properties within ALT’s "Sakonnet Greenway."

“We thank Bill Welch for helping us add another important green patch to the impressive green quilt, known as our Sakonnet Greenway, that we have been working on for about twenty years,” ALT Executive Director Ted Clement said in a statement. Said Welch, “For years, we have benefitted from the terrific conservation work of the Aquidneck Land Trust, especially their extensive bridle trails, so we felt it was time to do our part.”

The Sakonnet Greenway runs from near Glen Road in Portsmouth south to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown. A "greenway" is an area with a critical mass of nearby and connected open spaces which together afford a community substantial benefits such as wildlife habitat corridors, sweeping scenic vistas, recreational corridors that can support outdoor recreation opportunities such as ALT’s Sakonnet Greenway Trail, long buffers for critical water supplies, and agricultural corridors. Fragmentation of agricultural land, caused primarily by development, is one of the significant threats to agricultural viability in New England.

The Welch land has a number of conservation values. This parcel contains United States Department of Agriculture recognized Prime Farmland Soils and Additional Farmland of Statewide Importance Soils. Welch Farm utilizes approximately 3 acres for its horse operation. The rest of the land, designated as the Habitat and Little Creek Buffer Area per the Conservation Easement, has substantial water resource and wildlife habitat values. Little Creek flows through this portion of the property on its way to the Sakonnet River with the forested Habitat and Little Creek Buffer Area providing an important buffer and recharge area for this creek. The Habitat and Little Creek Buffer Area also contains vernal pools and a mature Red Maple-Black Gum Swamp that support a number of wildlife species. Furthermore, Welch Farm affords scenic vistas to the residents and passersby on Mitchell’s Lane and Harvest Drive.

ALT’s time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. With today’s closing, the organization has conserved 2,385.63 acres on 65 properties on Aquidneck Island since 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit

Editorial note: Written from a press release. Thanks to Mr. Welch and the folks at ALT from all of us here in Portsmouth!