The ALT and the Faria family announced the conservation on Friday and said the actively-farmed property is adjacent to Sisson Pond, which is one of Aquidneck Island's seven public drinking water reservoirs.
"Development in our watersheds has increased over the years, adding more houses and roads where forests and fields once were. Maintaining this property as open space, and others like it, is critical to protecting the quality of our drinking water supplies on Aquidneck Island," said Chuck Allott, executive director of the Aquidneck Land Trust. "This conservation easement also protects prime farmland, so much of which we have lost on Aquidneck Island. ALT is all about protecting farming as a way of life and protecting local sources of food production. It's safe to say the current drought in California has made it apparent that we need to be conscious and vigilant about local sources for our food."
A seven-lot hypothetical development plan shows that the property could have been developed into a seven-lot subdivision.
The result of that would be thousands of gallons of runoff from driveways, streets and yards draining directly into the pond. That water could contain pet feces, huge doses of nitrogen from chemical fertilizers and pesticides not to mention oil from cars and machines.
With the preservation, the land instead will continue to be farmed as well as serve as a key ecological anchor. Located within the ALT's Center Island Greenway, the property is connected to 294 acres of land ALT has already preserved. This helps create more wildlife habitat as well as ensuring Portsmouth continues to have sweeping and breathtaking views.
The Faria property consists of 14.6 acres of land in two lots on the easterly side of Hedly Street.
"We are certain that our parents would be proud to know that we have worked with ALT to preserve the land they loved so much," a family spokesman said. "We all worked together as a family on this land, and the decision to keep it as farmland was the right choice for all of us."
ALT said the preservation deal wouldn't be possible without the help and support with the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the town of Portsmouth, "both of whom have made a lasting difference by supporting the conservation of this important watershed parcel."
If you would like to support ALT in our time-sensitive mission by becoming a member, click here.
For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org