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Town gets $195,055 land grant; Money to safeguard Wendemuth Preserve.

NORTH BROOKFIELD--The North Brookfield Conservation Commission is pleased to announce that the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services has awarded the Town of North Brookfield a Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (L.A.N.D.) grant in the amount of $195,055.

The grant is to be used for North Brookfield's purchase of a conservation restriction for Wendemuth Meadow Preserve, 30 acres of historic farmland on Bates Street. Holding the conservation restriction will give the Town the right to oversee the protection of the conservation and agricultural values of the land. The conservation restriction will furthermore ensure that the land will be preserved in perpetuity as open space and agricultural land, and remain open to the public for passive recreation.

Wendemuth Meadow has been a joint conservation effort between the Town of North Brookfield and the East Quabbin Land Trust since the land first came on the market five years ago. After years of negotiations and strategizing about how to conserve the land, the town and EQLT agreed that EQLT would purchase the land from its former landowners and the town would pursue a L.A.N.D. grant to purchase a conservation restriction on the fields and wet meadow. With the award of this grant, this major step has been accomplished.

The conservation restriction cost is $275,000, of which the L.A.N.D. grant provides 70 percent. The grant requires a 30 percent local match, which the Friends of Wendemuth Meadow group and the East Quabbin Land Trust will raise, ensuring no cost to the town. The fundraising goal for the Friends of Wendemuth Meadow is $50,000. The Friends have already raised $16,000 and only $34,000 remains to reach the goal. East Quabbin Land Trust is accepting tax-deductible donations to be held until June 2015, when the monies will be transferred to the town to purchase the conservation restriction. The deadline for purchase is June 30, 2015. Once purchased, the land will be legally protected from development in perpetuity.

The land will be owned and maintained by the East Quabbin Land Trust, whose support has been crucial in the protection of this much-loved property, once the home of Theodore Bates and, more recently, the Wendemuth Family. The North Brookfield Conservation Commission will hold the conservation restriction for the town, and oversee all protections contained therein.

The Wendemuth Meadow Preserve is open to the public for walking and hiking. Everyone is also invited to participate in a special work-day event to clear the land of knapweed, an invasive plant, on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.EQLT.org or contact Friends of Wendemuth Meadow co-chair Harbour Fraser Hodder at (508) 867-5028

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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 14, 2014
Words:467
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