The Grills Property: A Land & Water Conservation Success Story

Wetlands and floodplains provide a critical role in mitigating the impacts of flooding.

Hopkinton, RI | June 02, 2010

The Pawcatuck River has many sources in Rhode Island, from the Queens River to Tillinghast Pond. But now, thanks to a public-private partnership, over 650 acres and two miles of Pawcatuck River frontage are open for the public to enjoy in Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

The property was purchased by The Nature Conservancy and the Town of Hopkinton from Mr. Grills, one-time owner of the Bradford Dyeing Associates in Westerly. In May, the Conservancy and the Town were thrilled to complete the federal and state-funding portion of the acquisition, providing additional protection to the property and completing the Conservancy’s financing of the project.

Kathleen Wainwright, Director of Conservation Programs for the Conservancy, said “This complex project took six years and five different agencies to complete. Without the great team effort from so many people, we never could have protected this irreplaceable property.”

This $2.1M acquisition now protects Phantom Bog, the second largest wetland in Rhode Island, and ensures that this critical stretch of river will remain undeveloped and vegetated. Natural areas such as these wetlands and floodplains provide a critical role in mitigating the impacts of flooding, such as those witnessed by Rhode Islanders in March. By absorbing waters as they rise, and releasing them slowly over time, the property will help protect people and property downstream.

And now that the project is complete, paddlers who enjoy this lovely, long stretch of flat water can know that, in conjunction with land protected on the Westerly side of the river, this beautiful river will remain quiet and tranquil for generations to come.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Kevin Essington
Director of Government Relations & Communications
401-331-7110, ext. 24

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