Protection of Pine Island Pond lands will make Bay more resilient to climate change

The Bay’s capacity to adapt to climate change recently received a boost. This month, the Mattapoisett Land Trust (MLT) purchased 120 acres of woods and wetlands around Pine Island Pond, a partially enclosed bay off Mattapoisett Harbor surrounded by expanses of salt marsh. This project, a partnership led by the MLT and supported by the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Town of Mattapoisett, was the first land conservation project to receive funding through the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which supports towns’ efforts to become more resilient to climate change.

Orange and red fall salt marshes surrounding Pine Island Pond

Protecting the land around Pine Island Pond will give its rich salt marshes room to migrate inward as sea levels rise.

The $960,000 grant helped the town and the Buzzards Bay Coalition to purchase the conservation restriction on the land, which will prevent these lands from ever being developed. This, in turn, enabled MLT to purchase the land.

Preventing construction in these vulnerable areas will ensure the continued health of important Bay ecosystems, and most importantly, protect the land behind the existing salt marshes. This area will provide space for the salt marshes to migrate inland as sea levels continue to rise, helping the Bay to adapt to climate change.

These newly protected lands connect Buzzards Bay to the MLT’s Old Aucoot District, creating a corridor along which wild habitats can grow and animals can safely roam and thrive. The Pine Island lands are critically important wildlife habitat, recognized by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

Preserving these lands also helps to ensure overall Bay health, as these forests and wetlands protect two major brooks and Pine Island Pond itself from runoff and pollution.

In the coming years, MLT will extend the trail system at Old Aucoot to provide the public access to these stunning lands, which provide opportunities for kayaking, fishing, shellfishing, and birding amongst spectacular natural beauty. The protected lands will also highlight one of the town’s historical gems: the remains of a stone barn belonging to early 20th century Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The Pine Island Pond lands represent the largest land acquisition in MLT’s more than 45-year history, and was made possible by a variety of supporters, including private donations and Town of Mattapoisett Funds, including the Community Preservation Fund, in addition to the generous state grant.

Category: On the Land

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