Please join the Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at the Middletown Town Hall, 350 East Main Road in Middletown, to learn about ALT’s 2012 Aquidneck Island’s Conserved Lands Mapping Project.
This presentation is free and open to the public.
Refreshments will be provided. Space is limited so RSVP to Sophia DeMaio, ALT’s Stewardship Director, at email@example.com or 849-2799, ext. 14.
Click here to see the results of the 2012 Aquidneck Island’s Conserved Lands Mapping Project. There were various take home messages from this mapping project.
First, good conservation is like good government, it requires checks and balances, and not all conserved lands have adequate checks and balances. For simplicity purposes, most conserved lands can fit into one of the following protection level categories: Land Conserved with a Perpetual Conservation Restriction (strongest level of protection); Land Conserved with a Deed Restriction (middle level of protection); and Land Conserved with Conservation Intent Alone (lowest level of protection). On Aquidneck Island, the pressures on the remaining open spaces will only be increasing as there is less and less land available for development proposals. Nationally and locally, many conserved open spaces that lacked adequate conservation protections have been lost to development. In recognition of the above, we can place perpetual conservation restrictions (i.e., a Conservation Easement) on important and weakly protected open spaces.
Second, 20.6% of Aquidneck Island’s land area is conserved. Through this study, it was rewarding to see how much important open space our island community has been able to conserve in a short period of time. Our estimate is that about 15% of our land area was conserved in 2000. In 2004, our first conserved lands mapping project demonstrated that 16.6% of our land area was conserved, and in this most recent study it was shown that percentage had grown to 20.6% of our land area being protected. Also, in August 2000, ALT had conserved about 500 acres and now ALT has conserved 2,386.5 acres. Nevertheless, it is sobering to compare ourselves to other large islands like Manhattan (19% conserved), Block Island (34% conserved), Martha’s Vineyard (36% conserved) and Nantucket (45% conserved). However, it is important to keep in mind that these other places have been actively engaged with land conservation since the 1970s or earlier while our local island land trust did not start until 1990. Better late than never, and we have a full head of steam now as we are doing important catch-up work.
Third, while only a small percentage of Aquidneck Island’s land area is conserved there remain many important land conservation opportunities. For example, in 2011, ALT completed a year-long mapping and prioritization study of all the remaining and threatened open space parcels within Aquidneck Island’s seven primary watersheds. The study identified almost 300 open space parcels, representing over 3,000 acres, at risk of development within Aquidneck Island’s main watersheds.
In sum, we all have a lot of good conservation work left to do to ensure a sustainable future, both economically and environmentally, for our beloved island. We owe this to ourselves and future generations and we look forward to a good discussion with you on August 9th. This presentation is part of the statewide First Annual Land Trust Days. Check out the full calendar and roster of fun Land Trust Day events throughout Rhode Island at www.LandTrustDays.org
ALT’s time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island’s open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,386.50 acres on 66 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org.