Ocean View Farm purchase advances Allens Pond protection effort

By Douglas McCulloch | Sep 01, 2017
Courtesy of: Buzzards Bay Coalition A map showing the Ocean View Farm property.

One of the largest pieces of undeveloped coastal land in Dartmouth has been scooped up by conservation groups who aim to keep it that way.

The 120-acre Ocean View Farm property, which abuts Allens Pond, is now in the hands of Round the Bend Farm, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust. The $8.1 million land purchase was closed in August, according to town Finance Director Greg Barnes, who served as the closing agent. The groups had been working together to secure the purchase of the property for several years.

Funded through private donations and state and federal grants, the aim is to preserve land around the pond which had been threatened by housing development in the past.

“It’s an incredible ecosystem, and so much of the saltwater pond is already protected by Mass Audubon,” said DNRT Executive Director Dexter Mead, referencing the 611-acre Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary property. “It would have been a shame if that property had been developed.”

The project also received $400,000 in funding from a state Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant, which the town applied for and received. In order to be eligible for the matching grant, Barnes said $400,000 was donated to the town by the groups and then once the grant was approved, the $800,000 was given back to fund the purchase. No town monies went into the project, he said.

A use plan for the property has already been developed. Round the Bend Farm will utilize 55 acres for agriculture, while DNRT will open 60 acres up to public access with a parking area and trails, which Mead hopes to open by next spring. DNRT will also conduct habitat restoration and maintain a grasslands area for bird habitats.

The Ocean View Farm purchase is one of three major components of the project, which would conserve a total of 217 acres of land. The groups also hope to secure permanent conservation restrictions from Round the Bend Farm – expected next year – and the neighboring 58-acre Powel Woodlands, Mead said.

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