PROVIDENCE – R.I. Department of Environmental Management has awarded $3.3 million to 16 organizations to preserve open, green spaces in Rhode Island, the agency announced on Friday.
The grants are expected to preserve 904 acres of open space and farmland in the state. Funding comes from the 2016 Green Economy Bond.
The grants awarded were up to a maximum of $400,000. The five largest grants include:
• A grant of $400,00 to Charlestown to preserve a 66.5-acre swath of pitch pine forest from Tucker Estates. The land was once owned by the town and will provide public hiking and other passive recreation opportunities, according to DEM.
• A grant of $400,000 to Johnston to acquire 47 acres of combined forest and farmland. The land will be made available for public recreation. It will also help protect the water quality of the Cedar Swamp Brook, according to DEM.
• The South Kingstown Land Trust will receive $400,000 to acquire 18 acres of conservation easement and fee interest on Yawgoo Pond in Richmond. The land abuts 100 acres of permanently protected land around the pond and is located adjacent to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Eppley Reserve.
• Coventry will receive $397,0000 to acquire 94.7 acres of land abutting the Coventry Greenway from Heritage Homes. The land is within a 900-acre block of forestland. The DEM said that the acquisition will see the land extend the greenway.
• The Little Compton Agricultural Conservancy Trust will receive $350,0000 to acquire 5 acres at the mouth of the Fogland/Donovan Marsh estuary from the Ratcliffe property. The property supports nesting Piping Plovers and will be open for swimming, paddling, fishing and passive recreation.
“The open space grants we’re awarding today – and the Beach, Clean Water, and Green Bond proposed in my budget – will help support the health and vitality of our lands, waters, and communities for generations,” Gov. Gina M. Raimondo said in a statement. “Investing in our natural resources benefits communities’ quality of life, promotes health and wellness, protects drinking and recreational water and helps Rhode Island become a more resilient place.”
The DEM also noted that it expects to offer a supplemental $1 million open-space grant round in the spring. That round will also see grants capped at $400,000.
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