On Monday, December 8, 2014, the South Kingstown Land Trust was awarded a $300,000 grant for the preservation of 22.7 acres of forest and open meadow on Torrey and Middlebridge Roads in South Kingstown. Joanne Riccitelli, SKLT’s Land Protection Director, accepted the grant award. The protection of this land will be an important step in helping to protect the water quality of the Narrow River. ‘This land is also important habitat for the preservation of the New England Cottontail, a species which may be listed under the Endangered Species Act, and for migrating passerine birds’ noted Joanne Riccitelli.
The landowners, members of the Smith family, have previously protected family lands in the Middlebridge area. One family member, Martha McManamy, commented: ‘Our family is very pleased that these funds have been approved by RIDEM. We look forward to the opportunity to work together with the South Kingstown Land Trust to provide environmental protection for this beautiful parcel. We hope that setting aside this land will provide additional green space which will benefit the Narrow River area as a whole.’
In all, the state awarded $3.85 million to a host of communities and conservation groups across Rhode Island. The money will be used to help preserve 1,193 acres of open spaces, forests, wetlands and farmland in 18 projects.
Governor Chafee and Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit awarded the funding at a ceremony held at the State House. The funds come from open space bond authorizations by taxpayers in 2008 and 2012. The $3.85 million grant will be matched by $7.75 million in federal, local and private funding.