New England Land Conservation Achievements for 2000
Today, the New England offices of the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, announced their conservation achievements in the year 2000: the protection of 21,000 acres throughout the region and the creation of more than $175 million in new state and local public funds for the conservation of parks and open space. State-by-state highlights include:
Referendum Question # 1– In November Rhode Island voters overwhelmingly passed a $34 million bond measure that will provide over $6 million annually for the next five years to protect watershed lands, recreational areas, parkland, and wildlife habitat. TPL was a founding member and lead supporter of “Yes on Question #1 for Rhode Island’s Heritage,” the statewide campaign in support of the bond. Other members of the coalition included The Nature Conservancy, the Preservation Society of Newport County, and the Aquidneck Island Land Trust. For more information about this and other bond measures around the country, visit www.tpl.org/LandVote2000.
Elderslie, Woodbridge– A mix of woodlands, fields, and vernal ponds, the 200-acre Elderslie property connects open space owned by the Woodbridge Land Trust with town conservation land. In 2000 TPL helped the town of Woodbridge acquire the property with partial funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Regional Water Authority. The property includes the headwaters of the Wepawaug River and provides breeding habitat for a number of rare species, including marbled and four-toed salamanders. This project is part of TPL’s Connecticut Watershed Initiative, a statewide effort to protect land surrounding active drinking water supplies as well as former and potential sources of clean drinking water.
Charter Oak Trust Fund Bill– TPL’s Connecticut Field Office won a significant victory during the 2000 legislative session with the passage of the Charter Oak Trust Fund Bill (P.A.00-203). Working closely with the leadership of the General Assembly and Governor Rowland, TPL and the Land Conservation Coalition of Connecticut lead the effort to pass the bill, which allocated $10 million dollars of the state’s surplus to open space protection.
Community Preservation Act–On September 14 Governor Cellucci signed the Community Preservation Act into law. The bill grants cities and towns the right to raise their own taxes in order to conserve land, preserve historic sites, create affordable housing, and provide an estimated $125 million over the next five years in matching funds as an incentive for them to do so. TPL was a leading member of the Community Preservation Coalition, which actively supported the passage of the Act. For more information on adopting the Act locally, visit www.tpl.org/CPA.
Burlington Open Space Plan– On October 30 the Burlington City Council unanimously adopted a comprehensive plan to protect natural areas and open space. The 2000 Burlington Open Space Protection Plan, produced with financial and technical assistance from TPL, seeks to balance development with conservation and concentrates on implementation. With the plan completed, TPL is already working with the city and the Winooski Valley Park District to protect Mayes Landing, a high priority property located along the Winooski River where it meets Lake Champlain.
Lake Umbagog, Coos County– Straddling the Maine-New Hampshire border, Lake Umbagog and surrounding forestland are home to bald eagles, loons, moose, and other wildlife. Over the past two years TPL has 1) helped the state of New Hamsphire create a new park on the southern tip of the lake and 2) added roughly 2,000 acres to the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, including the first addition to the refuge in Maine. In 2000, thanks to the strong support of the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, TPL helped add an additional 186 acres to the refuge.
Lake Tarleton, Warren, Piermont, and Benton– Several years ago, Lake Tarleton became the subject of a major resort development plan that threatened both its water quality and its value as wildlife habitat. Since then, a coalition lead by TPL, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, and the Upper Valley Land Trust have protected more than 5,300 acres surrounding 315-acre Lake Tarleton; two smaller lakes, Katherine and Constance; and much of Lake Armington. Thanks to the leadership of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation, TPL completed the project this year with the addition of 113 acres to the White Mountain National Forest.
New Hampshire Land and Community Investment Program– The campaign for the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) began back in 1997 when a small group of conservation organizations, including TPL, began meeting to discuss the prospects of creating a new state land conservation program. Thanks to strong support from New Hampshire’s legislative leadership and a stellar list of bipartisan sponsors, in June 2000 LCHIP became law with start-up funding for state grants totaling $3 million.
Nicatous Lake, Hancock County– In 2000 TPL helped the Maine Department of Conservation purchase a conservation easement over 20,268 acres in downeast Maine around Nicatous and West Lakes. The easement was purchased from Robbins Lumber Company with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future Program and the Forest Legacy Program, and it protects one of Maine’s largest breeding grounds for loons, bald eagle nesting sites, and other ecologically sensitive areas of the property. This project completed a larger effort begun in 1999, when TPL helped the state acquire 76 islands and 204 acres connecting Nicatous Lake to the 25,000-acre Duck Lake Public Reserve Lands Unit. This collaborative project involved many partners, including the Congressional delegation, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Forest Society of Maine, and Champion International.
Goose Rocks Corner, Kennebunkport– When the 71-acre Goose Rocks Corner property was slated for development two years ago, TPL teamed up with the Maine Congressional delegation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust to protect the land. After nearly two years of negotiations, TPL purchased the property in April 2000 and held it until May when it was added to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge for permanent protection.
The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 to protect land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Nationwide, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres, including nearly 60,000 acres in New England. For more information, visit www.tpl.org.