Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) has announced receipt of a five-acre property located off of Paradise Avenue in Middletown, given by a local couple specifically for the purpose of conservation. The land was gifted in full to the organization in December 2017 by Middletown landowners John and Deborah Warner. The parcel is within the drinking supply watershed for Gardiner and Paradise Pond includes 360 feet of the Maidford River and features extensive wetlands and habitat.

“This is an important acquisition for ALT and for all Island residents,” said Chuck Allott, ALT Executive Director. “Its location along the Maidford River will help filter stormwater and clean the water at the source before it enters our drinking supply. The river, wetland and woodland habitats on the property provide diverse wildlife habitat for a number of animal species. We are very grateful to the Warners for their generosity.”

Contributed Photo

Nearly all of Aquidneck Island’s drinking water is drawn from nine surface reservoirs, which collect and retain stormwater runoff from streams like the Maidford River and Bailey Brook. “The cleaner the water is when it enters the reservoirs, the less processing it requires by the public utility – in this case, Newport Department of Utilities, Water Division – to be purified.” The Warner property is ALT’s 22nd parcel to create a riparian buffer in the drinking watershed, meaning that the river or stream runs through the property with buffer areas permanently protected on either side. “These river buffers in the watershed are known to be vitally important to the improvement of water quality at the source, which benefits everyone on the island,” said Allott.

The property is the 78th to be conserved by ALT since its founding in 1990. It is located within the Sakonnet Greenway, a conserved region that is comprised of 35 properties on the eastern side of Aquidneck Island. Collectively, the parcels form an important wildlife habitat corridor for a number of animal species and a scenic viewshed. Over ten miles of publicly-accessible trails run through portions of the Greenway. The Warner’s gift brings to five the number of properties owned by ALT. The remaining 73 are under conservation easement, which means the land remains in private or municipal hands but has limits placed on future development in perpetuity.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.