Two Portsmouth properties to be conserved

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PORTSMOUTH — The nonprofit Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) announced two local land conservation efforts at its 24th annual meeting last week in Middletown.

First, ALT and the Faria family signed a purchase-and-sale agreement on the Faria's 10.53 acres of farmable land in Portsmouth. The formal closing will take place in a few weeks.

Additionally, the Reposa Family donated a conservation easement to ALT on approximately 4.25 acres of forested wetland north of Old Mill Lane.

Immediately after granting the conservation easement, the Reposas transferred ownership of the property to the Town of Portsmouth, which agreed to take ownership. (ALT prefers not to take title to conserved properties, preferring to hold conservation easements which restrict further development, according to Jessica Pohl, ALT’s development director.)

The Reposa property is located just south of Swan Farm, a 124-acre working farm and wetland property conserved by ALT in 2004. The forest that spans the Swan Farm and Reposa properties is nearly 65 acres — the largest un-fragmented forest on Aquidneck Island — and contains nearly 20 acres of forested deciduous wetland and 20 acres of scrub-shrub swamp. The area also contains vernal pools and small ponds.

The multiple habitat types support a diversity of plant and animal species including the Northern Harrier and the Dark-eyed Junco and Blue-winged Teal, which are endangered in Rhode Island. The Reposa property provides a wildlife habitat corridor between Swan Farm to the north and wetlands south of Old Mill Lane.

The wetland complex, including the Reposa property, buffers stormwater runoff from surrounding farms and neighborhoods before entering into the Sakonnet River. In addition, the property “affords scenic vistas of beautiful forest and fields from Old Mill Lane and is strategically located near other conserved properties within ALT's Sakonnet Greenway,” according to Ms. Pohl.

"My parents purchased a large parcel of land on Old Mill Lane in the late 1950s,” said Susan Replogle, the Reposa family representative. “It was their intention to keep some of the land as open space. My children have very fond memories of playing and exploring that land. Our family is very happy to donate this property in my parents name and have it preserved as open space."

For more information about ALT, visit http://ailt.org.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.