The NSRWA has a long history of protecting land critical to the watershed. In recent years the urgency to protect open space has only increased with the ongoing pressure for development. The NSRWA took a proactive role in each watershed community to support passage of the Community Preservation Act, enabling funding for open space in our watershed.
In 2004, the NSRWA, with financial support from Wildlands Trust, The Trustees of Reservations, Mass Audubon and Massachusetts Riverways program, published a study of lands critical to protect within the North River corridor entitled, “Protecting What Matters” A Plan to Protect the North River. Although finding that 35% of the total land area of the North River Corridor is presently protected, either owned outright by land trusts and towns or protected through existing conservation restrictions, Protecting What Matters demonstrates that there is a potential to protect an additional 1,171 acres or 14% of the corridor through acquisition and another 2,889 acres or 35% through conservation restrictions. If this were done then 84% of the total North River Corridor would be permanently protected for future generations and for wildlife habitat. The 2001 assessed value of the undeveloped land for acquisition is approximately $11.3 million.
From 2004 to today, through a generous grant from the Sheehan Family Foundation, the NSRWA and Wildlands Trust have been working in partnership on a North and South Rivers Initiative to protect lands critical to the North and South Rivers Watershed. This successful partnership has resulted in 250 acres being saved and leveraged over $3.5 million for watershed communities to save land. In addition, we have provided and continue to provide education and outreach on land protection to homeowners and to municipalities. If you are interested in saving your land please contact the NSRWA or the Wildands Trust about what options are available.