Rehoboth Land Trust Receives Palmer River Access Design Grant
December 4, 2023
Many residents and visitors appreciate the beauty of Rehoboth’s open spaces, but not everyone knows how the Rehoboth Land Trust (RLT) finances its important role in preserving these special places. As a nonprofit, established under the Internal Revenue Code 501(c)3, RLT is dedicated to preserving Rehoboth’s natural habitats and scenic landscapes. Unlike town government agencies, RLT functions solely through the efforts of volunteers, without any paid staff, and receives its funding entirely from charitable private donations and grants. So, when we receive a grant, as we recently did, we think it’s a big deal.
In July, RLT applied for a competitive grant offered by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and Roger Williams University to support planning projects that will enhance habitat quality and public access in the Narragansett Bay watershed. We proposed a study of our 12-acre Mason Street Conservation Area on the Palmer River because of its compelling and unique relevance to the grant’s objectives.
RLT’s 80 Mason St. property, on which the town holds a conservation restriction, has a trail leading to the Palmer River and a lot leased to neighboring Moonrose Farm for agricultural use. The property features a tributary of the Palmer River that suffers from old undersized culverts that restrict tidal circulation. Present conditions at the property do not adequately support boating access, habitat quality objectives, or agricultural operations. Our grant proposal identified each of these issues as significant topics for a focused planning and design study.
RLT’s grant application task force consisted of our recently appointed treasurer and lead proposal author, Abby McWain, along with myself and president Carol Entin. Working under a tight schedule, we collaborated to produce a winning proposal that addressed the critical aspects of the Mason Street property that require improvements. We sought guidance from Wenley Ferguson, director of habitat restoration for Save The Bay, who had initially recommended pursuing this funding opportunity. The Rehoboth Conservation Commission, Friends of the Palmer River, and Moonrose Farm endorsed the grant application. RLT’s proposal drew strength from our combination of task force talents, local support, and ability to demonstrate a firm grasp of the issues surrounding the Mason Street site.
We learned on Aug. 18, that RLT would receive the full requested amount of our grant request, $79,000, for this design phase. This grant will allow us to hire an environmental and engineering consultant to assist us in the study. RLT is grateful and proud to have been awarded this funding that will supplement our efforts to plan habitat and public access improvements at the Mason Street Conservation Area.
Dan Lanier is clerk of the Rehoboth Land Trust.
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