Weekapaug Foundation Summer 2020

Open Spaces

Summer 2020

 

 

The mission of the Weekapaug Foundation for Conservation is to preserve open space in the watersheds of the Quonochontaug and Winnapaug salt ponds, protect the barrier beaches, and ensure the integrity and water quality of the Ponds themselves through the support of the WFC members and the local pond communities.

 

Jordan Wildish of Earth Economics to highlight WFC's Annual Meeting as Guest Speaker on August 20, 2020 at 4:30 PM

WFC is thrilled to welcome Jordan Wildish, Project Director of Earth Economics as our guest speaker at our Annual Meeting via Zoom on August 20, 2020 at 4:30 P.M. He will touch on one of the silver linings of COVID-19 - the benefits to the environment. Through his work at Earth Economics, he developed an online dashboard to track the drop in pollution in San Francisco, New York and Seattle. He will share his research and how the impacts to the environment can inform planning for a sustainable economic recovery. Before taking his position with Earth Economics, he worked as the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow and a credentialed LEED Green Associate. Wildish has experience analyzing both environmental and economic theory and practice. His focus with the Earth Economics team is on capturing the benefits of natural capital by applying market-based solutions to environmental problems.

 

See SHGC Teaming with Frogs and Dragonflies

Enjoy the plentitude of wildlife at Shelter Harbor Golf Club, a WFC easement property, through the eyes of Carol Trocki, conservation biologist. She offers a glimpse of the myriad natural life that make the golf course their home including bullfrogs, green frogs, dragonflies and turtles.

 

 

WFC Partners with Save The Bay & Weekapaug Fire District on Grass Planting Project on Fenway Beach

It was one of the windiest days of the Spring during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, but Wenley Ferguson of Save The Bay was not deterred. She had selected Ammophila breviligulata grass specimens for planting on a sand berm at Fenway Beach and a little wind wouldn’t stop her. Indefatigable is a good word to describe Ferguson, who has been working on habitat restoration in Rhode Island for the last 24 years. While some may find climate change and its impact on our rising sea levels, marshes and beaches as cause for distress and a feeling of defeat, Ferguson simply sees it as a challenge to surmount with her strategic thinking, planning and team of dedicated workers and volunteers.

WFC has enjoyed a great partnership with Save The Bay over the years, working on marsh restoration on our Ray Preserve, Lathrop Preserve and Langworthy Field. When the Fauth family made a generous beach restoration gift, WFC reached out to the Weekapaug Fire District and Save The Bay, CRMC, QBCC and the Beach Commissioner to set up meetings to discuss how best to accomplish the goal.

It was determined by the meetings that a plan of action would involve repairing fencing that had aged over the years, planting beach grass in selected areas and building a berm to create a better storm barrier for the community. A straight path between the road and the beach is a liability in a storm, as it can serve as a water chute; by building a berm on the entrance to the beach, making the path a bit more winding and partially covering the opening, better overall storm protection is achieved. Fencing was put in place over the winter to trap sand and the planting of the beach grass took place this Spring to hold the sand in place. Older fencing that had begun to deteriorate was also replaced to better protect the beach grass already in place. 

"There's never been a better time to come together around our shared values of preserving and enhancing our precious Weekapaug dunes," says Donna Byrnes of Weekapaug Fire District. "Thank you to the WFC for inspiring a special Weekapaug family's vision to nurture our existing dunes systems and to the Foundation and Save the Bay for their partnership in planting sea grass and installing snow fencing in vulnerable areas of Fenway beach. We are excited by the growing berms of sand collected this past winter, and grateful for the conservation of goodwill." WFC is grateful for the Fauth family's kind magnanimity and for all parties working together harmoniously to make this project come to fruition.

 

 

WFC Launches Stewardship Fund

The Weekapaug Foundation for Conservation has created its own dedicated Stewardship Fund with a generous bequest and is asking for one time fund building contributions.This dedicated fund will allow WFC to continue to raise its stewardship practices for its 31 properties to the highest standards and consider projects that are beneficial to the community and environment, but otherwise would not be undertaken due to budgetary concerns. Some examples of wish list projects include: using woodchips around the kettle pond at Langworthy Field to reduce run off of fertilizer from the farm into the wetlands area, engaging a consultant for better forest management of the Nushka Preserve, and removing Black Swallow-wort from the Shore Road Preserve to protect the monarch butterflies from this invasive species. If you would like to make a one time contribution you may do so via check (address below) by indicating "Stewardship Fund" as a memo or online at:

 

Zoom Talk on Wetlands, the Fen and Invasive Species

WFC and Weekapaug Green are teaming up on July 9 at 6:30 P.M. for a Zoom talk on wetlands management, the Fen and invasive species. The Fen is one of WFC's conservation properties, the majority of which is classified as wetlands.

Carol Lynn Trocki of Mosaic Land Management will speak about the Fen, which she has analyzed using drone imagery. Trocki is a conservation biologist and educator with over 15 years of experience helping others better understand, manage, and appreciate the natural world. Since 2004, she has been working with local land trusts and conservation groups, assisting them to map and prioritize their land acquisition efforts, document conservation values, and plan for the long-term stewardship of their protected properties.

David Prescott serves as the South County Coastkeeper for Save The Bay’s Westerly office. As Coastkeeper, he provides a visible on-the-water presence and works in the community to protect, restore and promote stewardship of South County and the coastal ponds region stretching from Narragansett to the Connecticut border.

Click link above to find Zoom credentials or email Rose Cavanagh at rcavanagh@weekapaugfoundation.org.

 

 

WFC Stewardship Blog

 

This is your first installment of our Stewardship Committee’s blog! We intend to make this a regular part of the newsletter to better update you on WFC’s activities. We have been busy this year conducting an audit of the 31 WFC properties for stewardship priorities. Our monitoring blitz over Thanksgiving weekend brought our member volunteers to visit our properties along with our trustees and stewardship committee members. Each volunteer was assigned a property and given background materials about the property to reach in advance. We then utilized AirTable, our online monitoring database to record information and pictures about each property. This allows us to identify issues for follow up. The Stewardship Committee has also been busy with the oversight of new properties and has made necessary improvements, such as our work on the new Nushka Preserve along Noyes Neck Road.

We have been working with our conservation biologist, Carol Trocki to prepare Baseline Documentation Reports (BDRs) on our new properties. BDRs are an important stewardship and monitoring tool for non-profit land trusts. They indicate the condition of the properties, record the flora and fauna present at the time they are written, and are ideally conducted when the land trust first takes title to the property. They are a wonderful reference point with easements in dealings with a landowner as well as an important tool to monitor the changes in the ecosystems of our conserved lands.  In our recent acquisitions since 2016, we have had these documents prepared within 12 months of taking title. These documents are an investment of time and resources and the preparation of these documents has been made possible by grants from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation. Thanks to their support, we are making steady progress in our goal to have a BDR completed on each property in our portfolio. In addition, the Stewardship Committee is working with the Hunt Foundation to analyze and develop a plan in relation to invasive species on the Fen this year. This is a timely and important project and we are very grateful for their benevolent support of WFC.

 
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