FREEPORT, ME—The Open Space Institute (OSI) and its partners have added nearly 2,800 acres of previously unprotected land to nature preserves across Northern New England though a series of targeted conservation projects. The lands, prized for their climate resilience, will help protect land for people, plants and wildlife even as the world warms.
These recently completed transactions, made possible through OSI’s Resilient Landscapes Fund, build on the 8,360 acres OSI has previously helped protect through the Fund along the East coast since 2012.
“With a changing climate, we aim to save the natural strongholds that will continue to retain or attract plants and animals not only today, but far into the future as well,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. “We congratulate our partners on their protection of these amazing places, forever.”
The recently-conserved properties are:
Stonehouse Forest, a 1,500-acre property in Barrington, NH
OSI provided an early grant commitment of $400,000 that was instrumental in helping the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire secure nearly $4 million to acquire this land from a developer. The property, which was one of the largest unprotected tracts of open space in southern New Hampshire, supports migratory bird species, moose, and many other animals. The land’s natural ponds, numerous wetlands and streams are the genesis of clean water which eventually flows into the Great Bay, a nationally significant tidal estuary.
Turkey Mountain, an 800-acre property in Jamaica, VT
OSI’s $135,000 grant enabled The Nature Conservancy to move forward with this $680,000 project, which abuts Jamaica State Park and the popular Hamilton Falls Natural Area. The newly-conserved Turkey Mountain property adds to over 2,600 acres of contiguous protected forest and includes an unusual red oak/red spruce natural community, vernal pools and the peak of Turkey Mountain.
Wild Goose Pond, a 472-acre project in Pittsfield, NH
Here, OSI’s $100,000 grant enabled Bear Paw Regional Greenway to protect 192 acres, in turn spurring another landowner to donate a conservation easement on his 280 acres. Together the properties include unfragmented forests within some of the largest remaining in southeastern New Hampshire, and serve as a connection between other, larger forest blocks to the north. This $585,000 project helps conserve a variety of wetlands types, ranging from a tiny but vibrant vernal pool to a large beaver pond, that provide critical habitat to an abundance of plants and animals.
“As climate change progresses, conservation of demonstrated resilient places like Turkey Mountain — for carbon storage, water infiltration for flood resilience, and habitat —grows increasingly important,” said Jon Binhammer, Protection Director at The Nature Conservancy in Vermont. “The Open Space Institute’s grant for this project was crucial in helping protect this important resource for the people of New England.”
OSI’s Northeast Resilient Landscapes Initiative is capitalized by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.