In March, the Coalition and our partner, the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT), finalized a conservation restriction on the privately-owned Apponagansett Bay Farm, a 22-acre parcel that had been part of a larger 128-acre property owned by the Webb family.
“This is a big ‘win’ for clean water, for our fragile salt marshes and for wildlife, and it was made possible through a collaboration that involved the federal government, the Town of Dartmouth and private citizens who were committed to protecting the largest remaining block of undeveloped land on Apponagansett Bay,” said Mark Rasmussen president of the Buzzards Bay Coalition.
The former Apponagansett Bay Vineyard in Dartmouth—the larger property that included the farm parcel—had long been identified as a priority for conservation. With its frontage on Dike Creek, a vast salt marsh and important tributary to Apponagansett Bay, the land filters water flowing toward Buzzards Bay. It also harbors a unique mixture of upland forest, forested wetland and open farm fields. Finally, it is bounded on three sides by nearly 500 acres of already protected lands owned by the Coalition, DNRT, and the Town of Dartmouth.
When the property was listed for sale in 2018, the Coalition and DNRT joined forces to acquire and protect the land through the Dartmouth Coastal Farms initiative. The largest portion of the property is now the 77-acre Dike Creek Reserve, which is owned by DNRT with a conservation restriction held by the Coalition.
The remainder of the property was divided into two parcels—including the newly protected farm—that are privately owned, but secured with conservation restrictions held by the Coalition. Together, the conservation agreements form a large network of conservation land adjacent to Dike Creek, safeguarding the unique ecological characteristics of this land and aiding in the protection of the water quality of the Dike Creek Estuary and Buzzards Bay as a whole.
The Dartmouth Coastal Farms effort also resulted in the protection of the renowned Eva’s Garden, as well as 20 acres of woodlands surrounding the pioneering organic farm. The initiative raised a total of $3.8 million in gifts and grants, including $1 million in charitable contributions from 180 individuals and families in Dartmouth. The project also received support from the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and the Town of Dartmouth Community Preservation funds.