MCA Priority: Cooperative Land Protection Projects

Land Protection is an important part of building a healthy and thriving Metrowest. However, conservation projects can be complex and expensive, and often require many years of effort.

Over time, the conservation community has found great success working through partnerships to protect many special places. By bringing together individuals from various organization types (municipalities, volunteer and staffed land trusts, state agencies, etc.) who can exchange ideas and learn from one another, the Metrowest Conservation Alliance (MCA) creates a breeding ground for cooperative action. Together, our partners can make a greater impact, raise more funds, and protect more priority land.

Conservation and Collaboration at Work, by MCA Partners

High Ridge Initiative

SVT and our conservation partners in three towns (the Harvard Conservation Trust, the Littleton Conservation Trust, the Boxborough Conservation Trust, along with Conservation Commissions from the three towns) have launched the High Ridge Initiative to protect land and improve land management in the High Ridge area in order to maintain and improve ecological health; preserve the agricultural, rural heritage, and character of these three communities; and improve the quality of life of current and future residents.

Elizabeth Brook Knoll, Boxborough: CPA, a Conservation Partnership Grant, and two land trusts

On March 22, 2019, Boxborough Conservation Trust (BCTrust), with the assistance of Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) and the Boxborough Conservation Commission, acquired Elizabeth Brook Knoll, a 15-acre wooded property on the Boxborough-Harvard line that features rock outcroppings and provides superb habitat for threatened species of turtles and salamanders. SVT and the Boxborough Conservation Commission hold a conservation restriction on the property.

In order to fund the acquisition, BCTrust secured an $84,000 state Conservation Partnership grant that put a big dent in the $189,000 project cost. The remainder of the funds needed came from SVT, the Boxborough Conservation Commission, the Fields Pond Foundation, and many individual donors.

Smith, Littleton: foundations, privative fundraising, two land trusts

The Smith family sold these 61 acres in a bargain sale and the total cost of the project, including project costs and a stewardship endowment, was $245,800. The Town of Harvard contributed a portion of the funds, and SVT contributed a portion of the funds.

Additionally, SVT committed to raising $185,000. SVT received grants from several foundations ($15,700 from the Merrimack Conservation Partnership; $25,000 from the Bafflin Foundation; $15,000 from the Fields Pond Foundation; and $10,000 from the Hauben Foundation), but private donations from individuals have also played a key role in the project's success. 

In November 2018, SVT launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $35,000 for the project. Thanks to the generous support of SVT members, LCT members, and local conservation advocates, SVT far surpassed the goal and raised more than $62,000.

Other cooperative projects

Salt Box Farm, Westford: Town and two land trusts

In July, the Westford Conservation Commission and SVT acquired a conservation restriction (CR) on 45 acres of Salt Box Farm on Hildreth Street and Wright Lane in Westford. The scenic property includes open meadow, hay fields, woodlands, wetlands, and a vernal pool.

To fund the purchase of the CR, the Town of Westford allocated $1.163 million, and the Westford Land Preservation Foundation (WLPF) raised $185,000 from individual donors. SVT provided technical assistance during the acquisition and will help in the long-term monitoring of the property as a co-holder of the CR.

Robertson, Upton: CPA, Bargain Sale

SVT has been working with the Town of Upton and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to protect the 48-acre Robertson property on Fowler Street. The land provides important habitat for rare salamanders and turtles, and it overlooks Warren Brook, an important coldwater stream that supports native brook trout.

The Town of Upton will use existing Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to purchase a conservation restriction (CR) on the property to permanently protect the land and allow public access, including fishing. The value of the conservation restriction is $619,000, but it will only cost the town $177,000 of CPA funds, thanks to state funding and a bargain sale by the owners.

Tri-Town Landscape Partnership, Berlin, Boylston, Northborough: Multitown collaboration in targeted area

Working in partnership with private landowners in a seven-square-mile area surrounding Mount Pisgah, SVT and the towns of Berlin, Boylston, and Northborough have come together to protect one of the last wild areas in Metrowest.