Land Stewardship Projects
With over 1,000 acres of open space to manage, WLCT takes an active approach to improving wildlife habitat, opening new trails to promote public access, and monitoring our conserved lands. To learn more about any of our current land stewardship projects, please contact Brendan@WestportLandTrust.org.
St. Vincent de Paul Camp Undevelopment Project
In March of 2018, WLCT took the first steps towards removing the antiquated infrastructure at the former St. Vincent de Paul property. During the mid twentieth century the campus teemed with activity and served to connect young men and women of the Catholic faith through fraternity, recreation and exploration of the natural world.
Shuttered in 2005, the campus sat vacant for over a decade and the once bustling property looked destined for commercial or residential development. In 2017, working in partnership with the Town of Westport and Catholic Diocese of Fall River, we championed a grassroots fundraising campaign to not only save the property but to transform the landscape into a community park with over two miles of trails. This transformation so far has included:
- The removal of eleven buildings, a collegiate size swimming pool, seven above surface oil tanks, and roughly 75% of the impermeable asphalt and concrete
- Over 500 service hours from our volunteer Tuesday Trail Team towards clearing trails and improving wildlife habitat
- The professional removal of 12 state-listed invasive Norway maples trees to suppress the spread of seed onto the open space
- The planting of more than 25 new trees of different variety, including liberty apple, black gum, sugar maple and juniper
With your help we can continue to transform the property and make Westport’s first community park a reality. Please visit our Current Land Protection Projects page to learn more about the community park and how you can help!
Photo by Greg Stone- An eastern bluebird on April 16, 2017 at the Herb Hadfield Grassland Meadow Restoration
Herb Hadfield Grassland Meadow Restoration
In March of 2016, we received news that our Herb Hadfield Grassland Meadow Restoration project proposal to MassWildlife’s competitive Habitat Management and Improvement Grant program had been successful. We were awarded $12,122.95 in grant funding from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to complete the 5.75-acre grassland meadow restoration at the recently expanded 158-acre Herb Hadfield Conservation Area.
Consistent with a 2009 WLCT management plan authored by forester Mike Labossiere, formerly of The Trustees, the restoration initiative began in early 2015 with the clearing of a 5.75-acre section within the central portion of the Herb Hadfield Conservation Area. The project has rapidly progressed since the initial timber harvest and to date we have seeded over 300 lbs. of native warm season grass mix and installed ten nesting boxes on the site to improve wildlife habitat for a variety of bird species. We look forward to seeding in a diversity of native wildflowers in subsequent years.
These (MassWildlife Habitat Management and Improvement) grants will allow municipalities and conservation organizations to improve wildlife habitats and enhance recreational opportunities for people who enjoy hunting, bird watching and other outdoor recreation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This grant underscores our commitment to protecting the Commonwealth’s natural resources.
Dunham’s Brook Stream Restoration
In January of 2018, we were awarded $12,783.00 in grant funding from the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to conduct stream restoration work at the 159-acre Dunham’s Brook Conservation Area, located at 1520 Main Road. Our 2009 land management plan for Dunham’s Brook Conservation Area had identified two culverts impeding fish passage under an old roadway that crosses Dunham’s Brook. A prior Division of Fisheries and Wildlife survey of Dunham’s Brook had found American Eel and Banded Killifish, and confirmed a breeding native brook trout population south of Main Road, which was originally documented in a 1990 survey.
Native sea-run brook trout, also known as Salters, spend much of their adult life in saltwater but return to freshwater to spawn. Considered a keystone species in the northeastern United States, Massachusetts populations of native brook trout have declined in recent years. Today, geographically isolated populations of trout remain in only about 10 percent of the sub-watersheds in eastern Massachusetts.
In order to preserve our diverse habitats on the SouthCoast, we first must recognize the importance of land conservation,” said Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport). “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and MassWildlife for providing the Westport Land Conservation Trust the opportunity to continue their great work in our community and maintain our unique environment.”
Dunham’s Brook Conservation Area Young Forest Habitat Improvement
Forests in Westport have had trouble with invasive insects like Gypsy Moth and Winter Moth in recent years. Forestry activity has begun at Dunham’s Brook Conservation Area which will improve general forest health. Along with state licensed forester, Rupert Grantham, we are completing a select cut of the northern-most timber stand–beginning north of the cornfield. This active forest management will improve nutrient recycling and hardwood regeneration while also promoting old growth characteristics in a relatively young forest.
Hikers should be advised that while this forest management activity is taking place the green trail loop is closed to the public. This activity will not impact road conditions along Main Road and will be completed before next summer.
want to volunteer?
We always need more volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering with the Westport Land Trust, then give us a call at (508) 636-9228 or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Volunteer” in the subject line.