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Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

2000 Land Conservation Grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Williams
Phone: (508) 291-3625
Date: Feb. 8, 2000


Buzzards Bay NEP Announces it has Funds Available for Land Conservation


Wareham - The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program has announced that it has funds available to assist landowners in the Slocums River and Onset Bay watersheds to protect their land from future development.

The Buzzards Bay NEP, working in cooperation with the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts, received a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection's 319 Nonpoint Source Program to demonstrate in the two watersheds how land conservation can have an effect on water quality in Buzzards Bay.

Water quality in many harbors around Buzzards Bay is impacted or threatened by nitrogen inputs originating from development and other land uses in the surrounding watershed. Nitrogen is a natural and essential part of both marine and terrestrial environments, however, too much nitrogen can cause excessive growth of algae. An overabundance of algae can lead to loss of eelgrass beds and shellfish habitat, and can cause unpleasant odors and fish kills by decreasing oxygen levels in the water. Nitrogen sources leading to these problems include septic systems, fertilizers added to lawns and other sources associated with development.

Preservation of open space is one method that can be used to control development and reduce the amount of nitrogen entering Buzzards Bay. Besides having an impact on water quality, land conservation also protects plant and wildlife habitats, rare species, wetlands, forests, migration corridors, scenic vistas and historic sites.

Most of the conservation tools available to landowners today offer several financial benefits and tax incentives, with some options providing substantial reductions in estate and property taxes. One of the most flexible options is a conservation restriction, which can be tailored to the individual needs of each individual and property. Landowners can continue to live on their land and pass it on to heirs, all while permanently protecting the natural resource value of the land.

Landowners within the Slocums River and Onset Bay watersheds that are interested in protecting their properties from future development may be eligible to receive reimbursements for survey, appraisals, and title work associated with their land conservation project. For more information, please contact Sarah Williams at the Buzzards Bay NEP at (508) 291-3625.