ALT

ALT meets goal to save Portsmouth church land

The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) has completed raising the $3M necessary to preserve the St. Mary's Church property in Portsmouth, the group announced in a release today. The final piece of the 14-month funding drive was a $110K grant from The Nature Conservancy via The Champlin Foundations, and ALT now plans to work on closing on the conservation rights on 70 acres between East Main Road and the St. Mary’s Pond Reservoir in Portsmouth.

“We are extremely grateful to all who contributed to our Campaign to Save the St. Mary’s Church Land," said Ted Clement, ALT Executive Director, in a statement. "All participants leveraged one another’s limited open space funds so as to permanently protect this land which is priceless to our island community because of the land’s water resource, agricultural, scenic and wildlife habitat values. We have a lot to celebrate at our July 28th summer gala, Fiesta Verde, which will be held on the beautiful and magical St. Mary’s meadows.”

With the grant from The Nature Conservancy and The Champlin Foundations, ALT has now raised enough in grant awards and cash from 3 governmental entities, 6 foundations and 40 individuals to cover the entire project budget of $3,073,894. A number of parties made significant leadership contributions including the United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service, the State of Rhode Island/Department of Environmental Management, the Town of Portsmouth, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trusts, the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, and The Nature Conservancy through a grant from The Champlin Foundations.

The proposed approximate 70-acre St. Mary’s Church conservation area is strategic from a conservation perspective. Pursuant to the Town of Portsmouth’s 2002 Local Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan, the subject land is located within a Town of Portsmouth designated Open Space and Active Agriculture Area, Resource Protection Overlay District Area and Greenways Plan Area. The St. Mary’s Church land is located next to a number of previously conserved parcels within ALT’s Center Island Greenway thereby building upon and enhancing this past conservation work. The land also falls within the St. Mary’s Pond Watershed, directly abutting the St. Mary’s Pond Reservoir area with over 1,000 ft. of frontage on the reservoir property. The St. Mary’s Church land therefore acts as a natural buffer protecting this important island water reservoir from harmful runoff.

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 2,386.50 acres on 66 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501c(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org.

Editorial note and disclosure: Written from a press release; I am a supporter of ALT.

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Preserve Portsmouth, ALT, AILT

Portsmouth conservation effort gets $300K boost

The effort by the Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) to save the 70-acre St. Mary's Church land in Portsmouth got a big boost this week in the form of a $300K grant from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, ALT announced today.

With this grant, the ALT effort is just about $160K from their goal of $3M which needs to be raised by May, 2013, the group said in a statement.

"The van Beuren Charitable Foundation has done so much to help us permanently protect Aquidneck Island’s remaining farms, forests, water resource areas, parks, scenic vistas and wildlife habitat," said Ted Clement, ALT Executive Director. "Their focused support of land conservation on the island has helped us build and protect a large, and interconnected, foundation of natural resources which will help sustain our island for generations to come. We cannot thank them enough.”

The St. Mary’s Church land between East Main Road and the St. Mary’s Pond Reservoir in Portsmouth, and is located next to a number of previously conserved parcels within ALT’s Center Island Greenway thereby building upon and enhancing this past conservation work. The land also falls within the St. Mary’s Pond Watershed, directly abutting the St. Mary’s Pond Reservoir area with over 1,000 ft. of frontage on the reservoir property. The St. Mary’s Church land therefore acts as a natural buffer protecting this important island water reservoir from harmful runoff.

ALT has conserved 2,385.63 acres on 65 properties on 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. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, ALT

State of Rhode Island adds $400K to ALT effort to save Portsmouth's St. Mary’s Church land

The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) campaign to save the St. Mary's land in Portsmouth got a major boost today from the State of Rhode Island, the group announced in a statement. Governor Lincoln Chafee and Director Janet Coit of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management presented a $400,000 open space grant award certificate to Executive Director Ted Clement of the Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) for ALT’s Campaign to Save the St. Mary’s Church Land. In the competitive 2011 State of Rhode Island Open Space Acquisition Grant Round, there were 30 applicants from municipalities and land trusts throughout the State with only 15 being selected.

On May 25, 2011, ALT, St. Mary’s Church Portsmouth and the Trustees of the Sarah Gibbs Trust signed an Option Agreement that gives ALT until May 24, 2013 to raise over $3 million to conserve about 70 critical open space acres of the St. Mary’s Church land between East Main Road and the St. Mary’s Pond Reservoir in Portsmouth.

With this State of Rhode Island grant award, ALT has raised about $2.6 million in grant awards and cash against the agreed upon $3 million purchase price for the proposed 70 +/- acre conservation area and additional projected transaction costs for ALT.

The proposed approximate 70-acre St. Mary’s Church conservation area is strategic from a conservation perspective. Pursuant to the Town of Portsmouth’s 2002 Local Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan, the subject land is located within a Town of Portsmouth designated Open Space and Active Agriculture Area, Resource Protection Overlay District Area and Greenways Plan Area. The St. Mary’s Church land is located next to a number of previously conserved parcels within ALT’s Center Island Greenway thereby building upon and enhancing this past conservation work. The land also falls within the St. Mary’s Pond Watershed, directly abutting the St. Mary’s Pond Reservoir area with over 1,000 ft. of frontage on the reservoir property. The St. Mary’s Church land therefore acts as a natural buffer protecting this important island water reservoir from harmful runoff. The 2000 study Critical Parcel Identification for Watershed Protection in Newport County, Rhode Island, done by the Aquidneck Island Partnership, recognized the subject St. Mary’s land as critical to protect from a watershed protection perspective. ALT’s recently completed year-long mapping and prioritization study of all the remaining and threatened open space parcels within Aquidneck Island’s seven primary watersheds also identified the St. Mary’s Church land as a high priority for protection. The woods, fields and wetlands of the land provide diverse wildlife habitats that support various listed species such as the Glossy Ibis. This land, which has almost 1,000 ft. of frontage on East Main Road, is also a priceless and iconic property that provides joy to numerous passersby everyday with its spectacular scenic vistas. Furthermore, the fields of the proposed conservation area consist of mostly Prime Farmland Soils as recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture making the property an important agricultural resource.

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 2,352.55 acres on 63 properties on 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. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org.

Editorial note: Written from a press release. But still awesome.

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Preserve Portsmouth, open space, ALT

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