Explore our newest reserve, Carvalho Farm, on Nasketucket Bay

Officials and members of the public gathered in a Fairhaven meadow in the November sunshine on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of Carvalho Farm, the Coalition’s newest public reserve. This coastal property features a native grassland meadow, active agricultural field, forested wetlands, and salt marsh on 61 acres along the shore of Nasketucket Bay.

Carvalho Farm ribbon cutting

Coalition President Mark Rasmussen, Fairhaven Selectman Bob Espindola, landowner Tom Carvalho, and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program Executive Director Joe Costa cut the ribbon to officially open Carvalho Farm.

“It was more than 20 years ago that the Carvalho family began a discussion with the Buzzards Bay Coalition about conserving their beautiful farm here on Shaws Cove,” said Mark Rasmussen, Buzzards Bay Coalition President. “Their thoughtfulness and deep commitment to this land has now succeeded in ensuring that these scenic open fields and sensitive coastal wetlands will always be here and always bear their name. I know that generations to come will thank them for their vision.”

Following speaking remarks from Rasmussen, Robert Espindola, Vice Chairman of the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen, Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, and landowner Tom Carvalho, around 40 visitors joined land protection staff to walk the scenic, roughly one-mile Indian Rock Trail.

People walking through the open field of Carvalho Farm

The Indian Rock trail begins in a native grassland meadow, which provides excellent bird and pollinator habitat.

For more than a century, this property was owned by the Carvalho family and served as a base for dairy operations, as well as land for pasture, corn, and hay.

When the Carvalho family decided it was time to sell this land, the Coalition knew there was significant risk the land could be converted to residential development. Carvalho Farm’s open fields on Shaw Road make these pastures and fields excellent for agriculture, but they also make this site easy to build on, and its rural, waterfront location make it a highly desirable home site.

Attendees exploring the site marveled at how their surroundings changed as they walked the trail, from open meadow, to wetland-studded woods, to scrubby coastal forest and salt marsh. A shared favorite spot on the trail was the view from Indian Rock, a massive boulder in a clearing at the trail’s end, where visitors could look over acres of salt marsh colored orange by the setting sun.

People looking over the salt marshes along Nasketucket Bay

As the sun set, visitors took in the stunning views from the Indian Rock clearing of salt marsh and the waters of Nasketucket Bay.

With the support of private donors, Fairhaven Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, the EEA Conservation Partnership Grant program, and the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, the Coalition purchased the land in 2017 and placed it under a conservation restriction that permanently protects it from development. Under this conservation restriction, the property will also continue to support agricultural operations.

Carvalho Farm is part of the growing complex of protected lands around Nasketucket Bay, which including Nasketucket Bay State Reservation and the Coalition’s Shaw Farm Trail. The lack of development around Nasketucket Bay helps to make it one of healthiest of all Buzzards Bay’s waterways.

Category: On the Land

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