Oyster Pond Trust Seeks To Buy 22 Acres on Pond

pondFALMOUTH – The Oyster Pond Environmental Trust is not counting on a major grant from the state to help purchase at 22-acre parcel for conservation.

An $800,000 grant is contained in the state’s environmental bond bill, but it is far from a sure thing, according to Jonathan Smith, the director of the campaign to acquire the parcel on Oyster Pond.

“It’s part of an Environmental Bond Bill of $126 million that will provide funding for many, many, many projects all over the state, various towns and various projects. We’re not guaranteed this money at this point,” he said.

As a back-up, the trust is fundraising and has raised about $1 million of the $2.1 million purchase price that the trust has negotiated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which is selling the land.

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The land abuts the pond and is next to Spohr Gardens, a privately owned parcel that is open to the public year-round for nature walks and for the annual Daffodil Festival in the spring.

“This pond because of its proximity to Woods Hole Oceanographic is one of the most studies pond systems in the country. It’s just a wonderful treasure and asset for the town of Falmouth,” he said.

Besides private fundraising, the trust has secured a $250,000 grant from the Town of Falmouth’s Community Preservation Act Funds and from    from The 300 Committee.

Smith said the trust expects to hear later this year or early in 2015 as to whether it is getting all or part of the $800,000 from the state. It has one year to raise the money to purchase the land.

The land could support a subdivision of 10 units, Smith said. That could affect the health of the pond, which, Smith said, at this point supports a wide range of wildlife.

Smith said the pond is very healthy. “We have a very good herring run, white perch, a lot of both fish and wildlife. We have over 200 species of birds that are in the forest, the thickets, the shoreline and on the pond surface itself.”