Quabbin to Cardigan Awards Fall 2022 Grants

In the Fall 2022 round of grant-making, the Quabbin to Cardigan Land Conservation Grants Program awarded grants totaling $35,000 to five projects that will conserve a total of approximately 802 acres of land. 67% of the acres protected are located within areas identified as conservation priorities in the Q2C land conservation plan – falling within either “core conservation focus areas” and/or critical “Connectivity Corridors.” The total value of the projects funded in 2022 (land and easement value plus transaction and other costs) is conservatively estimated at more than $1.49 million. The projects are briefly summarized below.

The two-state Quabbin-to-Cardigan region spans one hundred miles from the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts northward along the western spine of New Hampshire to the boundary of the White Mountain National Forest. Encompassing approximately two million acres, the region is one of the largest remaining areas of intact forest in central New England and is a key headwater of both the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers.

The Q2C conservation grants are guided by a strategic plan that prioritizes the region’s most ecologically significant forests and key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation. All projects are on a strictly voluntary, willing-seller/donor basis. The funded projects are:

Bradford Bog Watershed Protection in Bradford, NH

Applicant: Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust
Acres to be Conserved:  73
Protection Method:  Land Purchase
Q2C Grant Award: $6,859
Total Project Costs: $198,275

A conservation buyer purchased this property to protect it from development while Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (ASLPT), with partners the Bradford Conservation Commission and the Rural Heritage Connection of Bradford, raised money to purchase the fee interest. ASLPT will hold the fee as conservation land and anticipates closing the project in June of 2023. The wetlands and stream on this property flow into the 177-acre Bradford Bog. It is the former site of the historic Bradford Springs Hotel, whose foundation is still present. By making use of existing woods roads, ASLPT is planning future trail development, providing access for low impact recreation, including hunting. This part of Bradford is highly ranked for wildlife habitat and this project has the potential to lead to further conservation in the area.

Gentl Property in Wendell, MA

Applicant: Massachusetts Audubon Society
Acres to be Conserved:  28
Protection Method:  Land Purchase
Q2C Grant Award: $3,864
Total Project Costs: $72,190

Massachusestts Audubon will acquire the fee and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will hold a watershed protection restriction on this parcel abutting the 2,000+-acre Whetstone Wood Wildlife Sanctuary. Public access on the parcel will be limited as the adjacent Wildlife Sanctuary largely restricts access to specific times and places to minimize human impact on local flora and fauna. Acquisition of this property will protect several wetland areas and a wildlife corridor northwest of the Quabbin Reservoir.

Maynard Forest Addition in Keene, NH

Applicant: Monadnock Conservancy
Acres to be Conserved:  259
Protection Method:  Land Purchase
Q2C Grant Award: $10,000
Total Project Costs: $352,945

The Monadnock Conservancy manages its 281-acre Maynard Forest in Keene as a demonstration and research forest, studying beech regeneration and blight-resistant American chestnut trees. They seek to expand the Forest with the purchase of a 259-acre property, which will then link to the 1,044-acre Goose Pond Forest owned by the City of Keene. This corridor will help the Monadnock region adapt to climate change by ensuring plants, animals, and their habitats can shift northward as the climate warms. The land will be a permanent conservation area that will be open to the public and will be managed for sustainable forestry, education, and research.

River Run Conservation Easement in Gilsum, NH

Applicant: Monadnock Conservancy
Acres to be Conserved:  181.5
Protection Method:  Donated Conservation Easement
Q2C Grant Award: $10,000
Total Project Costs: $104,525

A landowner in Gilsum is donating to Monadnock Conservancy a conservation easement on a forested parcel of land with more than ½ mile of frontage on the Ashuelot River. The property sits along the eastern flank of Surry Mountain and multiple streams drain into the Ashuelot and Hammond Brook. There are more than 2 miles of streams, a small pond, and more than 13 acres of wetlands. There are also 4 acres of fields that provide pasture for sheep, ducks and chickens. This parcel abuts the French-Harris Memorial Forest which, in turn, is adjacent to more than 3,000 acres of conserved land which reaches east toward an enormous block of conservation land including the Andorra Forest (10,000 acres) and the Harris Center Super Sanctuary (36,000 acres). This project will not guarantee public recreational access.

Lake Monomonac Forest Project in Winchendon, MA

Applicant: North County Land Trust
Acres to be Conserved:  260
Protection Method:  Purchased Land
Q2C Grant Award: $4,277
Total Project Costs: $765,750

The Lake Monomonac Forest Project, a landscape scale project, will permanently protect 260 acres in three parcels of land using a combination of fee ownership and conservation restriction. The project will take place in two phases. In the first phase, North County Land Trust (NCLT) is working with a conservation buyer to acquire existing lots. In Phase Two, NCLT will acquire the fee on the 210-acre parcel known as the Big Lot, which will also be protected by a conservation restriction. The 52-acre South Lot, adjacent to the Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area, will be sold to Massachusetts Fish and Game and permanently protected. Existing hiking trails will be maintained on all three parcels, and creation of a small parking area for the Big Lot will be retained as a reserved right within the conservation restriction. The reserved right of snowmobile use will also be retained.

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