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Watershed Perspectives
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Reference Material
Reading Room - Watershed Perspectives - Land Protection

by Chris Rodstrom, The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), Land Protection Specialist

The rolling hills of the Nashua River Valley are draped by numerous orchards, farms, and woodlands. In its 1999 publication "Conserving Our Common Wealth: A Vision for the Massachusetts Landscape," The Trustees of Reservations identified 145 square miles of potentially significant scenic, historic and ecological landscapes in the region, of which only 18% had been protected.

The threats to the remaining open space in this area are great. In particular the commercial, industrial and residential development along the I-495 corridor is rapidly consuming the remaining agricultural land. Growth in the high-technology companies locating here is creating a demand for both office space and new housing. We also find that as the apple industry struggles in the region, marginal orchards are becoming an attractive target for developers, despite the potential soil contamination problems commonly found in orchards.

With the hard work of groups like the Nashua River Watershed Association, local land trusts, municipalities, The Trustees of Reservations, and state agencies, important landscapes continue to be permanently protected. However, much more needs to be done to protect and connect threatened landscapes and to create a viable network of open space for the public to use and enjoy.

It is especially critical that funding for open space preservation initiatives continue. Funding initiatives combining state, municipal and local private contributions can preserve the most important landscapes in the Nashua River Watershed, even as the wave of development washes over the region.

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