Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust, has been awarded a $16,416 Merrimack Conservation Partnership Land Transaction Grant for the acquisition of an approximately 120-acre conservation restriction on the Leonhard-Eldred Farm in Boxford and North Andover. A family farm for several generations, the Leonhard-Eldred Farm encompasses over 60 acres of Prime & State-Important Farmland Soils, 80 acres of Prime Forest Land, and nearly 30 acres of Priority Habitat for Rare Species. Wetlands on the property contribute to the headwaters of the Ipswich River. The landowners have also generously agreed to allow public access on a footpath to be created by Greenbelt. Additional funding for the acquisition will be sought from the Towns of North Andover and Boxford, and from private donations.
Greenbelt will be working closely with our partners in North Andover over the coming months to request Community Preservation Act funding from the Town of North Andover. North Andover residents will be asked to approve the funding at this spring’s Town Meeting. These Community Preservation Act funds will be critical to completing the conservation restriction acquisition. The Merrimack Conservation Partnership Grant will reimburse Greenbelt for transactional costs associated with the project, such as due diligence and surveying. For more information, contact Vanessa Johnson-Hall.
The Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a regional conservation partnership formed by 33 private organizations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including Ipswich River Watershed Association and Greenbelt, to protect water quality, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, conserve the working farms and forests of the Merrimack River Watershed. To learn more about the Partnership, visit http://merrimackconservationpartnership.org/