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Page Credits:
The Wildlands Trust of SE Mass

Existing Protected Lands along the Taunton River
1996 - 2002

The Taunton River is one of the most unprotected areas in southern New England.

Total protected land along the 22-1/2 mile length of the Upper Taunton River is 556 acres in the towns of Bridgewater, Halifax and Middleborough.

SUMMARY: The Taunton River Stewardship Program, established in 1996 to promote the preservation of the upper Taunton River corridor and its major tributaries as an intact resource, has been instrumental in helping to facilitate land protection efforts along the corridor over the past six years. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Stewardship Program's partners, including the towns of Bridgewater, Halifax, Middleboro, and Raynham, the City of Taunton, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts, the Natural Resources Trust of Bridgewater, SRPEDD, and other contributors (notably the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management), 695 acres have been protected in the towns of Bridgewater, Halifax, Middleboro, and Raynham. Work continues on additional land protection projects along the corridor, and there is every reason to be optimistic about the potential for doubling the existing number of protected acres within the next several years.

A description of land protection projects completed along the corridor since the Stewardship Program's inception follows below.

BRIDGEWATER

· Stanley Iron Works
· Date Acquired: 1996
· Acquiring Entity: Town of Bridgewater
· Acreage: 20

Summary: Situated below the High Street Bridge and along the Town River, the Stanley Iron Works property once supported a foundry that began operations in 1707. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places, and now serves as an attractive riverfront park.

· Tuckerwood Conservation Area
· Date Completed: 1998
· Acquiring Entity: Town of Bridgewater
· Acreage: 33

Summary: Located off of High Street, the Tuckerwood Conservation Area includes 2000 feet of frontage on the Town River and parking for at least six cars.

·Stiles and Hart Property
· Date Acquired: 1999
· Acquiring Entity: Town of Bridgewater
· Acreage: 70

Summary: Formerly supporting a brick factory, the Stiles and Hart property now offers access to the Town River from Broad Street.

· Packard Conservation Restriction
· Date Completed: May 2000
· Acquiring Entity: The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts
· Acreage: 12.5

Summary: This CR on a scenic riverfront parcel is the first restriction anywhere along the upper Taunton River corridor.

· Wyman Meadows Conservation Area
· Date Completed: June 2000
· Acquiring Entity: Town of Bridgewater
· Acreage: 55 (35 conservation land, 20 wellhead land)

Summary: Complementing its several prior acquisitions along the Town River, Bridgewater acquired this important property on the mainstem of the Taunton that includes scenic open fields and several hundred feet of riverfront, and directly abuts the Wildlands Trust's North Fork Preserve.

North Fork Preserve Acquisition
· Date Completed: May 2001
· Acquiring Entity: The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts
· Acreage: 41

Summary: With support from the Sheehan Family Foundation, the Trust purchased an ecologically and strategically significant parcel that includes over 1100 feet of river frontage and directly abuts the Town of Bridgewater's Wyman Meadows Conservation Area.

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HALIFAX

· Alvarez Acquisition
· Date Completed: Spring 2000
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
· Acreage: 8.9

Summary: Situated on the Taunton River at the Cherry Street Bridge, this acquisition enables permanent public access to the river for small boats and canoes.

· Striar Conservancy Acquisition
· Date Completed: Three Phases-December 1999, December 2000, and October 2002
·Acquiring Entity: The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts
· Acreage: 164

Summary: This critical multi-year acquisition project protected an extensive riverfront area along the lower Winnetuxet River, one of only four top-priority sites for conservation identified in the 1998 Upper Taunton River Natural Resource Assessment and Conservation Plan.

· Randall/Hilliard Preserve Acquisition
· Date Completed: June 30, 2000
· Acquiring Entity: Town of Halifax
· Acreage: 63

Summary: The Randall/Hilliard Preserve joins with the adjacent Striar Conservancy to form an almost 250-acre area of ecologically rich protected lands along the lower Winnetuxet, not far from its confluence with the Taunton.

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MIDDLEBORO

· Grant Acquisition
· Date Completed: 1997
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
· Acreage: 67

Summary: This acquisition along one of the most undisturbed and scenic stretches of the upper Taunton established a DFW presence in this area, and has served as a catalyst for several additional acquisitions of adjacent lands.

· Bally Acquisition
· Date Completed: 1998
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
· Acreage: 14.4

Summary: This parcel lies at the scenic confluence of the Nemasket and the Taunton Rivers, and is adjacent to several publicly owned parcels.

· Slein Acquisition
· Date Completed: 1998
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management
· Acreage: 10

Summary: This archaeologically rich site along the Taunton in the Fort Hill area of Middleboro was saved from development at the eleventh hour through the active intervention of the Stewardship Program.

· Connors Acquisition
· Date Completed: Winter 2001
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management
· Acreage: 27

Summary: DEM complemented its Slein acquisition by purchasing this abutting parcel, thereby establishing a presence in one of the most scenic and archeologically significant areas along the upper Taunton.

· Parris Acquisition
· Date Completed: Original Pre-Acquisition-December 2000, Conveyance to DFW, December 2001
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (following pre-acquisition by The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts)
· Acreage: 44

Summary: The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts and The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife collaborated on the acquisition of this 44-acre holding along the Taunton, which saved the parcel from imminent foreclosure and enabled DFW to continue its effort to assemble a large block of contiguous conservation land in the River Street area.

· Bradshaw Acquisition
· Date Completed: Summer 2001
· Acquiring Entity: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
· Acreage: 57

Summary: DFW obtained this parcel along the Taunton from the Town of Middleboro, thus enabling a linkage between it and the adjacent Parris and Grant properties to create a 160+-acre contiguous block of protected riverfront land.

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RAYNHAM

· Schiffrin/Boyar Property
· Date Completed: 1998
· Acquiring Entity: Town of Raynham
· Acreage: 9

Summary: The Boyar property on South Street East includes nearly one-third of a mile of river frontage on the mainstem of the Taunton, adjacent to a historically significant former mill site. The Town of Raynham has partnered with the National Park Service to establish a canoe launching site and an interpretive display.

 


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