Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has received a $151,500 grant from The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (“DEM”) for the purchase of Little Creek Preserve in Portsmouth. ALT has been fundraising to conserve Little Creek since July 2017 and has raised $364,500 of the $368,000 required to close on the 15.6-acre property. Fundraising will continue for property improvements. Situated along the Sakonnet Greenway Trail, a 10-mile nature trail that extends down the center of Aquidneck Island, the new parcel will extend the trail and offer a park for passive recreation, such as birdwatching and picnicking. It is bordered by three ALT-protected open spaces.
“This is terrific news for Aquidneck Island,” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of ALT. “The headwaters of Little Creek originate on the property and there are also wetlands, a pond, and a natural spring on the site. The land and water conservation values are significant and the site provides an excellent habitat for a range of amphibian and avian species.” Prior to receiving the DEM grant, ALT received over 300 donations from individuals, foundations and businesses to conserve the parcel, a former dairy farm. “The entire community showed incredible support from the beginning,” said Allott. “Islanders treasure natural beauty and open spaces, and know that conservation is the only way to permanently protect the land for future generations.”
ALT is determining the level of additional funding required for site improvements. Costs to extend the Sakonnet Greenway Trail onto the property and provide park amenities are under review and will be made public soon.
The grant was part of a $3.75 million distribution by DEM to protect green spaces throughout the state, made available through the 2016 Green Economy bond measure. A total of seventeen grants were given to protect 889 acres of open space and farmland in Rhode Island. Little Creek Preserve is expected to be open to the public in 2018.