The Nature Conservancy announced today that they have acquired the development rights to a 71-acre property that protects groundwater feeding into Ninigret and Green Hill ponds.The Estate of Virginia Jones donated the development rights to the Conservancy through a conservation easement.The donation was valued at $600,000.
The property is on Gravelly Hill Road and is next to land protected by the South Kingstown Land Trust. The Land Trust assisted the Conservancy with this project and will eventually own the Jones Estate property.
“Protecting this forested property from development is an important step toward protecting Ninigret and Green Hill ponds,” said Scott Comings, the Conservancy’s South County real estate specialist. “Most of the freshwater in the coastal ponds comes from groundwater. Keeping groundwater recharge areas forested helps cut down on excess nutrients in the ponds.” Comings explained that groundwater recharge areas are places where rainfall seeps into the ground to become part of a larger aquifer of freshwater.
The South Kingstown Land Trust has been working with the Jones family for years. “Years ago, the South Kingstown Land Trust worked with Virginia Jones to protect nearby land in Perryville, and it was clear that Perryville always held a very special place in her heart. We are very pleased that, through her estate, this wonderful property will be protected in perpetuity, which is what Virginia wanted.” “Protecting habitat is an important part of a broad campaign to restore the coastal ponds to complete health,” said Art Ganz, president of the Salt Ponds Coalition. “It’s more cost-effective to protect habitat than restore it, so we are grateful for the Conservancy’s and the Land Trust’s continued efforts to protect the coastal ponds’ ecosystems.”
Over 9,700 acres of land are preserved in the Ninigret and Green Hill ponds ecosystem, owned and managed by Federal, State, and local agencies.The Conservancy and its partners are working to protect the remaining habitats in the area while restoring water quality and shellfish habitat in the ponds. Comings says, “We would like to preserve undeveloped properties in this area now before development pressure rises again.”For more information, visit The Nature Conservancy’s website at www.nature.org/rhodeisland.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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