RIWalks Challenge Creature Hosted at Haile Farm

The RIWalks Challenge, coordinated by the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, has officially begun – go search for the 30 different nature-inspired “creatures” hidden on land trust trails throughout the state!

The Warren Land Conservation Trust is hosting one of the creatures at Haile Farm Preserve on the Dick Hallberg Trail. Take a walk and try to find it!

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

The WLCT is pleased to partner with the Salt Marsh Sparrow research project (a multi year effort based at Jacob’s Point).

This story is by Salt Marsh Sparrow research project volunteer Deirdre Robinson:

Rare events in the natural world can inspire awe and offer hope. Such is the case with one particular Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammospiza caudacutus) who hatched on July 7, 2019 at Jacob’s Point in Warren RI. Her story is representative of the struggle of her species, which has survived as an obligate saltmarsh specialist for millennia. With rising tides due to climate change however, coastal marshes are flooding and sparrow nests are being inundated with greater frequency. This specific sparrow offers a rare glimmer of hope for members of the Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative, who are bearing witness to the extinction of an extraordinary species.

Why is this species extraordinary? It demonstrates a polygamous breeding strategy, nests on the ground and escapes from predators by running rather than flying, has only a rudimentary “song”, does not defend territories, and breeds nowhere else in the world except in healthy coastal marshes from VA to ME. The female sparrow is among the hardest working of birds. She alone constructs the nests, incubates the eggs, and feeds and defends the chicks while they are nestlings– and even after they fledge. Her perseverance is rewarded only when the nesting cycle is not in synchrony with the flooding cycle.

Read the full story (PDF)

For more about the Salt Marsh Sparrows at Jacob’s Point see the avian activities page.

Grant Supports Conservation Work in the Forest Portions of Haile Farm Preserve

Last year, the WLCT applied for and received funding under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for conservation work in the forest portions of the Haile Farm Preserve.  Based on the Forest Stewardship Plan completed in November 2019, the 4 year EQIP grant will help us pay for work removing invasive species and improving habitat conditions for wildlife and the health of the woodlands. We just completed the first step of the 4 year plan by mowing and clearing brush in a section of meadow on the edge of the forest just north of the pond.  This meadow has a great mix of native grasses and wildflowers that provides excellent habitat for pollinators as well as for grand nesting birds and small animals. The meadow faced an invasion of multiflora rose and bittersweet and autumn olive, so we mowed the area to knock back the invasive plants and give the good native plants a better chance to thrive. It was a a tough job and we are thankful for the hard work of the crew from Staton’s Landscaping who braved the 10 foot high stands of briars and brambles to clear the area. It looks barren now, but come spring it will come back to its natural glory for us all to enjoy.

A report by the leader of our Trail Team Rock Singewald on the status of Haile Farm Preserve and plans for future development

Read this report to learn more about what’s been done at Haile Farm and what’s being planned for 2021. We completed the Jade Trail on the north side of the property and add a bike rack at the new Toweset Landing site at the end of Maple Road. Work parties are being planned for February and March to handle various maintenance tasks.

We are looking for volunteer to become Stewards of our properties that are not open to the public. We have a Stewardship Program with a goal of visiting each of our properties at least once every 2-3 years and documenting the conditions by taking photos at the property borders and noting the presence of invasive plants, any incursions from neighboring properties, whether there is litter or other debris present, and whether there is a need for us to take any action to address any issues.  Also any suggestions for potential uses of the property and potential for public access are welcome.   If anyone is interested in signing up to be a Steward for a parcel, please let me know and we’ll get you access to a fillable Stewardship Form that you can complete on your phone and send in for our records along with any photos you take.  You don’t have to visit often, just once every year or so, just to keep tabs on conditions. See the stewardship report for more details.

Read the stewardship report

The WLCT Receives a Significant Donation of Land

The Warren Land Conservation Trust is pleased to announce the acquisition of 24.76 acres of valuable wetland habitat along the Palmer River. This was a generous donation from Ms. Karen Burnes of Westport, Massachusetts. The property is located at 314 Market Street and encompasses Assessor’s Plat Map 21, Lots 2, 11 and 50. This is next to 1.4 acres of saltmarsh already stewarded by the Trust. The merger of these properties will form the Barker Preserve, totaling 26.14 acres. A strict wetlands protection easement covers 94% of the donated land and is held by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

This important donation has been in the works for several years. It constitutes a 14% increase in land held by the WLCT and brings the total land protected and stewarded by the Trust to 199.56 acres.

The Warren Land Conservation Trust annual membership campaign is currently underway. Membership funds the land trust’s basic operations, as well as trail development and maintenance, public educational events, and habitat protection. If you are interested in supporting efforts to protect open space in Warren and making them open to the public, you can make a donation on the Support Us page.

Fall at Jacob’s Point

The Fall is a great time to take the beach trail at Jacob’s Point (off the bike path at the Warren/ Bristol town line).

Photo courtesy of Butch Lombardi.

The WLCT Acquires A Small But Important Piece of Land

The Warren Land Conservation Trust received the donation of a 10,000 SF parcel near the end of Pennsylvania Avenue in July. This parcel was the generous gift of Roger and Frances Orifice. Most of this wooded parcel is comprised of wetlands and therefore development would have difficult.

The Land Trust has identified a corridor of wetlands stretching from the marsh across from Malik’s Liquors north to the Massachusetts state line. This low-lying area is east of Market Street and west of Birch Swamp Road. Most of the upland land in this area has already been developed. The Land Trust has a number of wetlands properties in this corridor it is currently protecting, with plans to address dumping and the invasion of non-native plants on these parcels. The Land Trust is interested in protecting other privately held wetland areas in this corridor, with the goal of having a continuous wetland habitat all along this valuable natural resource.

The Orifices’ donation is one more step in protecting these fragile habitats and working to restore their ecological functions.

The new Jade Trail is now Officially Open

Given a very wet Spring and a global pandemic requiring social distancing, it was no easy task to organize trail crews at the Warren Land Conservation Trusts property at the Haile Farm Preserve over the past few months. But a dedicated group of volunteers put in an amazing amount of work and the new Jade Trail was officially opened to the public on July 27th.

The new trail, which is half a mile long and includes approximately 250 feet of new boardwalk, begins at the New Industrial Trail sign and joins to the existing Dick Hallberg Trail to facilitate ‘loop” walking at the Haile Farm Preserve.

This completes Phase 2 of the planned trail work at the Haile Farm Preserve. Later this year work will commence on Phase 3, including completion of the Betty Hallberg and Osprey View trails.

Given the expanding trail system, ongoing maintenance is an issue. The Warren Land Conservation is looking for volunteers to take responsibility for maintaining specific sections of trail. This work, with loppers and clippers, can be done independently and will improve the trail system for the community. If you are interested in volunteering please contact volunteerwlct@gmail.com.