Coalition spearheads the permanent protection of 134 acres in Mattapoisett River Valley
Residents of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Fairhaven may not be thinking about forests and wetlands when they pour a glass of water from their kitchen tap. However, most of the work to keep their drinking water clean and healthy is done by the natural forests and wetlands of the Mattapoisett River Valley. To protect that valuable resource, the Coalition and the three towns this week permanently protected 134 acres of forests and wetlands in the valley. This is in addition to over 1,000 acres of land that has been protected there over the last 15 years.
This current project was the result of a partnership between the Coalition, the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Supply Protection Advisory Committee, and the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Fairhaven. While the land is located in the town of Mattapoisett, it serves as the drinking water source for all three towns.
The 134 acres of land includes two clusters: one area along and north of Tinkham pond and another along the Mattapoisett River. The land was acquired for conservation from Howard Tinkham, who, by his estimate, is the seventh generation of the Tinkham family to own this land. At one time, he says, there were so many Tinkhams in this area that it’s now called “Tinkhamtown” on local maps.
In addition to protecting drinking water resources for the towns, protecting this land also benefits local wildlife and will provide passive recreation opportunities such as hiking, walking and birdwatching. Specifically it will expand access to Tinkham Pond around the Coalition’s Tripps Mill property.
The majority of the protected land will be owned by the town of Mattapoisett with the Coalition and the towns of Fairhaven and Marion co-holding a conservation restriction to add an additional layer of protection. The Coalition will own two small parcels to provide public access for passive recreation. The project was made possible with funding from the Commonwealth’s Drinking Water Supply Protection program as well as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, and community preservation funds allocated by all three towns.
“The communities of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Fairhaven are showing great vision in protecting their drinking water by conserving the natural areas of the Mattapoisett River valley,” said Coalition Vice-President of Watershed Protection Brendan Annett. “Their investment today to protect the remaining undeveloped land will pay dividends for many years to come.”