Federal, state, and local funding key to protection of Dartmouth farm

This letter to the editor appeared in the Standard-Times on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017.

Thank you to Jennette Barnes for her excellent Nov. 19 feature on the protection of Dartmouth’s Ocean View Farm. This landmark conservation success was made possible due to a partnership of great local nonprofits and generous private donors for sure. Equally important to this project and a host of other environmental efforts in our area was the public funding that made it a reality.

aerial view of Ocean View Farm and Buzzards Bay

Ocean View Farm on Allens Pond in Dartmouth helps protect clean water and provides important habitat for wildlife. DNRT will open a trail on 60 acres of the farm so everybody can explore this special place’s natural views. (Image: DNRT)

About half of the funding to protect Ocean View’s 115 acres of fields, forests and wetlands on Allens Pond came from federal, state, and local government sources. South Coast residents should know how their tax dollars are being invested back into our local community. When people hear about cuts to federal and state conservation funding, this is what we risk losing: clean water, natural landscapes, wildlife habitats, healthy outdoor recreation, and the quality of life in our communities.

The largest federal government grant, $1.8 million, came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, a Farm Bill conservation program. It would never have been possible to even consider taking on the effort to save Ocean View Farm without this critical Farm Bill funding.

Another $1.1 million was awarded from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which protect and restore coastal wetlands and bird habitats in coastal communities like ours for future generations.

At the state level, the project also benefited from a $400,000 Massachusetts Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant, which help towns like Dartmouth protect land for conservation and public access.

Last but not least, Dartmouth residents voted to contribute $600,000 in Community Preservation Act funds toward the purchase of Ocean View Farm. Local CPA funds are matched by the state to create a dedicated fund for preservation projects.

The public-private funding partnership that saved Ocean View Farm is a model for conservation we can use to save land and protect clean water across the South Coast. But that can’t happen without these important federal, state, and local dollars.

Category: On the Land

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