Monday, December 06, 2004

Land purchase to protect water

LeeAnne Connolly, certainly worth to commemorate for her actions..

Land purchase to protect water
Sunday, December 05, 2004

BELCHERTOWN - Conservation crusader LeeAnne Connolly doesn't wait for state officials to confirm they'll grant the town money for land preservation.

She's already started a campaign to raise $123,200, which, along with the grant, will allow the town to buy 51 more acres of the former Topping Farm.

Permanently shielding the parcel from development will protect the area's drinking water supply, said Connolly. The land is a major recharge area for the Lawrence Swamp aquifer, whose wells pump drinking water to Amherst, Belchertown, and Pelham, and for the Daigle Well, which serves Belchertown.

People may "think clear drinking water is in unlimited supply, but it's not. Once it's gone, it's gone forever," Connolly said earlier this week.

"This is something I really believe in, and I think other people in town do, too," she said. "When you talk about aquifer protection, it should tug at people's hearts."

The state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs grant for $261,800, which Connolly hopes will be awarded, will cover two-thirds of the land's $385,000 purchase price.

For the rest, Connolly is turning to residents; local land trusts, such as the Kestrel Trust of Amherst and the Belchertown Land Trust; nonprofit organizations; and any other generous private and public entities.

In 2000, Connolly led the campaign to preserve more than 100 acres of Topping Farm land. Later, she plans to go after the remaining 103 acres, which will be a preservation coup for one of the fastest-growing communities in Massachusetts. read More...

Land purchase to protect water

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