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Cumberland Land Trust acquires watershed site

February 14, 2013

CUMBERLAND — The Cumberland Land Trust holds title to 18 properties throughout the town and has helped protect 350 acres of land acquired through purchase, donation and conservation easements.
On Monday, the Trust announced its latest acquisition: 7.4 acres of land in northern Cumberland located within the watershed of the Diamond Hill drinking water supply reservoir operated by the Pawtucket Water Supply Board.
The parcel, known as the Belliveau Reservoir Property, consists of forested hills located within a few hundred feet east of Diamond Hill Reservoir. Land trust officials say the parcel will be maintained as open space to protect the water supply.
To highlight its latest acquisition, the Land Trust is holding a public workshop on the Belliveau property on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. in the community room at 2176 Mendon Road.
According to Cumberland Land Trust President Randy Tuomisto, the Belliveau Reservoir Property was closed on in late November, and later acquired in partnership with the Pawtucket Water Supply Board, with each organization contributing half of the purchase cost. The property was acquired in part with funds raised by the Cumberland Land Trust through donations. The Pawtucket Water Supply Board contributed funds made available by the water supply protection charge collected pursuant to state law.
“This represents another great example of the strong partnership the Cumberland Land Trust has built with the Pawtucket Water Supply Board," Tuomisto said. "Through collaboration, we have permanently preserved additional land around this important water supply source and by doing so contributed to its long-term protection."
The November acquisition brings to nine the number of conservation properties owned by the Cumberland Land Trust in the Diamond Hill Reservoir watershed.
Totaling 163 acres, these lands, along with lands owned by the Pawtucket Water Supply Board, help sustain a drinking water source for a municipal water supply system that serves about 100,000 customers in Pawtucket, Central Falls and southern Cumberland.
The Belliveau Reservoir Property will be preserved in a natural state that will allow the vegetation and soils to act as filters that prevent potential pollutants from reaching the reservoir. Tuomisto says it reflects one of the Land Trust’s conversation priorities - water supply protection.
“By preserving land and preventing it from being developed, we limit the introduction of new pollution sources, such as roadways and other impervious surfaces, into the watershed that supplies our drinking water," he said. "This is a wise strategy for sustaining the quality of this critical resource over the long-run.”
The Cumberland Land Trust is a private, non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to land preservation for the public benefit.
The Land Trust holds title to 18 properties totaling 343 acres throughout the town. Since incorporation in 1989, the Trust has helped protect 350 acres of land acquired through purchase, donation and conservation easements.
Land is acquired by donation, bargain sale and fee simple. The holdings protect valuable watershed lands including, wetlands, ponds and streams, acquifers and uplands. Four of the Trust's larger preserves are open to the public with pedestrian walking trails. The Veronica Geddes Bowen Preserve, High Rock Farm, Otis Smith Farm and Rowbottom Preserve, and the James J. Bland and Earl J. Burlingame Preserves allow public access.
The Cumberland Land Trust's vision for the future is to create a linear greenway of protected open space from the Monastery Grounds to Diamond Hill State Park. The vision plan is endorsed by the town and the 2003 Community Comprehensive Plan.

jfitzgerald@woonsocketcall.com

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