Land conserved for aquifer protection project

Jun 7, 2023

ROCHESTER — Two properties with land in Rochester will be under the protection of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, local municipalities and other conservation groups following a meeting of the Rochester Select Board on Monday, June 6. 

The parcels of land located on Long Plain Road and Wolf Island Road are a part of a larger 241-acre drinking water aquifer protection project that includes land in Mattapoisett, Acushnet and Fairhaven, said Buzzards Bay Coalition Director of Land Protection Allen Decker. 

The “Red Brick Farm East” property sits along Long Plain Road and Wolf Island Road, said Decker. Approximately 90 acres of the property is in Mattapoisett while around 13 acres is in Rochester. 

According to Decker, the 13 acres in Rochester will be owned by the Mattapoisett Water and Sewer Department. The Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Towns of Marion, Rochester and Fairhaven will co-hold a conservation restriction on the land. 

The “Long Plain Forest” property on Long Plain Road has approximately 58 acres in Rochester with additional land in Mattapoisett and Acushnet. Rochester’s 58-acre share will be owned by the Rochester Land Trust with a conservation restriction held by the Buzzards Bay Coalition. 

A conservation restriction is a “legally enforceable agreement whose purpose is to ensure permanent protection of specific conservation values while permitting limited land uses consistent with the protection of said conservation values,” according to the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services. 

Decker explained that the two properties hold conservation values including water quality protection, habitat protection, scenic views, open space expansion, public access and governmental planning. 

According to documents provided by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the restriction will remove any potential for subdivision and use as residential lots, and will allow for vegetation management, passive recreation activities including hunting, the use of trails and the ability to develop up to four water wells. 

“There really is  no expected long term change of use for this property,” said Decker.

Regarding the “Red Brick Farm East” parcel, the Town of Mattapoisett will hold liability for the property, said Decker. 

On Tuesday, May 23, Decker and Michael Huguenin from the Mattapoisett Land Trust sought and received approval to establish a conservation restriction on Mattapoisett’s share of these properties and on Tuesday, June 6 the Marion Select Board approved conservation restrictions on the “Red Brick Farm East” property.