But the river is important for another big reason: drinking water. The towns of Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester draw their drinking water from the aquifer under the valley. About 24,000 residents of these towns rely on the Mattapoisett River valley for clean, safe drinking water.
For more than 10 years, the Coalition has worked to protect land that safeguards this public drinking water source. We’ve helped local towns raise millions in grant funding that has preserved more than 1,000 acres of land across the valley.
Recently, we added another 16 acres to the network of protected land in the Mattapoisett River valley. Located on Acushnet Road just south of The Bogs in Mattapoisett, these 16 acres were highly vulnerable to development – the owner had already prepared a plan for five housing lots on the property. But at the time the owner wanted to sell, the town of Mattapoisett didn’t have the money to buy the land.
So the Coalition “pre-acquired” the land for the town by using a loan to purchase it from the seller. Then we helped Mattapoisett secure nearly a half million dollars from state and federal grants, private donations, and contributions from the Mattapoisett River Valley Drinking Water Supply Advisory Committee. With the final bit of money recently raised to pay back the loan, the Coalition will transfer the land to Mattapoisett, which will own and manage it.
Now this land – which could have been lost to development – is now protected forever. It joins a collection of about 400 acres of conserved land in the immediate area called the Mattapoisett River Reserve.
Not only do these properties protect clean drinking water, but they also include a network of trails that is a popular outdoor destination for local residents. If you enjoy the trails at The Bogs, you can extend your walk to this property, which has a trail that runs along the river.
Through partnerships and creative solutions, the Coalition will continue to protect clean water for all of us.