The 's (ALT) received an important boost Monday, when the Prince Charitable Trusts awarded a $200,000 challenge grant to this time-sensitive conservation project.
On May 25, ALT, St. Mary's Church Portsmouth and the Trustees of the Sarah Gibbs Trust signed an Option Agreement that will give ALT until May 24, 2013 to raise $3 million to conserve about 70 critical open space acres of the land between East Main Road and the St. Mary's Pond Reservoir in Portsmouth.
The proposed approximate 70-acre St. Mary's Church conservation area is strategic from a conservation perspective. Pursuant to the town of Portsmouth's 2002 Local Recreation, Conservation and Open Space Plan, the subject land is located within a town of Portsmouth designated Open Space and Active Agriculture Area, Resource Protection Overlay District Area and Greenways Plan Area. The St. Mary's Church land is located next to a number of previously conserved parcels within ALT's Center Island Greenway thereby building upon and enhancing this past conservation work.
The land also falls within the St. Mary's Pond Watershed, directly abutting the St. Mary's Pond Reservoir area with over 1,000 ft. of frontage on the reservoir property. The St. Mary's Church land therefore acts as a natural buffer protecting this important island water reservoir from harmful runoff.
With today's challenge grant award from the Prince Charitable Trusts, ALT has raised a little more than $1.7 million in grant awards and cash against the $3 million goal.