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May 7, 2004


Grants will extend protection to 34 acres of sensitive, undeveloped land


DENNIS – Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today awarded $750,000 in state environmental grants to help protect an additional 34 acres of pristine open space at Coles Pond. The most recent addition in a 30-year effort to preserve the area known as Crowes Pasture, this acquisition boosts the total amount of contiguous land under conservation to 400 acres.


“Governor Romney and I are committed to protecting the open space, water supply, wildlife habitat and recreation areas that make Massachusetts such an attractive place to live and raise a family,” said Healey. “With only one third of the land on Cape Cod undeveloped and unprotected, we are using all the tools at our disposal to strike the right balance between conservation and sound development.”


Healey said the state investment will help Dennis protect the parcel from future development. Healey said these state grants leverage more than $6,000,000 in federal, local and private funds.


“The acquisition of the 34 acres in Crowes Pasture is of critical importance to the Town of Dennis,” said Donald P. Trepte, Chairman of the Dennis Board of Selectmen. “It preserves the last major open space in the Town for conservation and passive recreational purposes and insures that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy this incredibly beautiful wilderness area with its significant wildlife habitat and rare plant species.”


The high economic value of this parcel required funding commitments from a range of public and private partners including the Town of Dennis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Dennis Conservation Trust. In 2003, the Department of Conservation and Recreation applied for and received a $1 million U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Wetlands grant that was critical to meeting the project’s funding requirement.


“Crowes Pasture is a sort of mini-national seashore that citizens from all over come to enjoy,” said Mark H. Robinson, Executive Director of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides assistance to land trusts. “Involving funding from many sources, this project is a crowning achievement in the push for more and better public-private partnerships and demonstrates how open space preservation should be done.”


“Working together with committed partners we have succeeded in conserving another parcel of great environmental value,” said Environmental Affairs Secretary Ellen Herzfelder. “This is a great victory for the people of Cape Cod, but also for everyone who comes here to enjoy this area’s tremendous natural beauty.”


Covering an ecologically diverse 400-acre area, Crowes Pasture encompasses diverse habitat types, including barrier beach, dunes, vernal pools, salt marsh, pine and oak woodland, coastal plain, pond, cedar swamp, cranberry bog, and meadow. Located within a District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC) this project has been designated Core Habitat in the BioMap, a state inventory listing critical concentrations of biodiversity across the Massachusetts.


The grants are part of the Commonwealth Capital program, announced earlier this year by Governor Mitt Romney, to promote a more strategic approach to land protection in Massachusetts. Commonwealth Capital aims to strengthen partnerships between municipalities and state government, rewarding forward-thinking communities that plan appropriately for growth.




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