MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) has received a 5-acre property located off Paradise Avenue in Middletown and given by a local couple specifically for the purpose of conservation.
The land was gifted in full to the organization in December 2017 by Middletown landowners John and Deborah Warner.
The parcel is within the drinking supply watershed for Gardiner and Paradise Pond, which includes 360 feet of the Maidford River, and features extensive wetlands and habitat.
“This is an important acquisition for ALT and for all Island residents,” said Chuck Allott, ALT Executive Director.
“Its location along the Maidford River will help filter stormwater and clean the water at the source before it enters our drinking supply. The river, wetland and woodland habitats on the property provide diverse wildlife habitat for a number of animal species. We are very grateful to the Warners for their generosity.”
Nearly all of Aquidneck Island’s drinking water is drawn from nine surface reservoirs, which collect and retain stormwater runoff from streams like the Maidford River and Bailey Brook.
“The cleaner the water is when it enters the reservoirs, the less processing it requires by the public utility – in this case, Newport Department of Utilities, Water Division – to be purified,” said Allott.
The Warner property is ALT’s 22nd parcel to create a riparian buffer in the drinking watershed, meaning that the river or stream runs through the property with buffer areas permanently protected on either side.
“These river buffers in the watershed are known to be vitally important to the improvement of water quality at the source, which benefits everyone on the island,” said Allott.
The property is the 78th to be conserved by ALT since its founding in 1990. It is located within the Sakonnet Greenway, a conserved region that is comprised of 35 properties on the eastern side of Aquidneck Island.
Collectively, the parcels form an important wildlife habitat corridor for a number of animal species and a scenic viewshed. Over ten miles of publicly-accessible trails run through portions of the Greenway.
The Warner’s gift brings to five the number of properties owned by ALT. The remaining 73 are under conservation easement, which means the land remains in private or municipal hands but has limits placed on future development in perpetuity.
The organization has conserved 2,580 acres on 78 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation.