The Rhode Island DEM announced Thursday the permanent protection of 125 acres of forested land in North Kingstown for public recreational use, including hunting. DEM received a $1.25 million grant from the US Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Wildlife Restoration Program to complete the purchase of the D’Ambra property.

The D’Ambra property abuts a spur of Silver Spring Lake, one of the state’s premier freshwater fishing areas, in the village of Saunderstown, between Congdon Hill and Pendar Roads. It consists of upland forest with some wetland habitat and perennial streams and contains the headwater tributaries of the Mattatuxet River.

“Forests perform many valuable ecological functions and are central to state efforts to preserve biodiversity and increase resilience to climate change, so to be able to preserve this swath of pristine forestland and help protect the Narrow River watershed at the same time is a huge win for the public,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “DEM is grateful for the support of Rhode Island hunters and sportsmen whose firearms and ammunition purchased in the state are taxed expressly for the purpose of funding conservation projects like this.”

The conservation of this property will add to more than 1,100 acres of protected lands in the Narrow River Watershed and help to further protect the water quality of the Mattatuxet and waters downstream, including Shady Lea Brook, Carr Pond, and the Narrow River. The D’Ambra property is sandwiched between two existing conservation parcels owned by the Town of North Kingstown. Together, the properties total 224 acres of connected, protected high-value forested habitat. The site will be open to the public and hunting and fishing will be allowed.

The Federal Wildlife Restoration Program, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, is a user-pay, user-benefit program that is derived from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, and arrow components, and is apportioned to states to support wildlife restoration and conservation programs. The acquisition of the D’Ambra property exemplifies the success of this program in creating additional recreational opportunities for the public and conserving critical habitat.

The State Land Conservation Program purchases ecologically valuable land to enhance DEM’s management areas, parks, and forest lands. Funding for these acquisitions is made possible by State Open Space Bonds, with contributions from municipalities, land trusts, and from various federal programs. The program works to acquire land to add to DEM’s conservation holdings – to protect state forests and open spaces for public recreational use and habitat conservation. Rhode Island’s wealth of historic parks, bikeways, and green spaces provide for public enjoyment, along with improving the health of the environment, strengthening climate resilience, and supporting the economy. Since 1985, over 20,000 acres of land have been protected. In fiscal year 2022, DEM protected 575 acres of open space and farmland while leveraging $6.4 million from federal and local partners. 



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