Help us map and eradicate invasive Garlic Mustard in Littleton

Garlic Mustard

Garlic MustardGarlic Mustard is flourishing right now. Pull or weed whack it before it is fully flowered! It is easier as you won’t need to bag it and let it rot in the bags or dispose of it carefully.

Littleton Conservation Trust Trustee Rick Findlay is recruiting a volunteer work group to control the spread of invasive plant species.

Our current top priority is stopping the spread of Garlic Mustard, one of the most destructive invasive plant species in the state. Introduced from Europe, garlic mustard is self-fertile and is very difficult to eradicate once it is established in an area. It spreads rapidly and, unfortunately, displaces native or other desired plants in a relatively short period of time. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds which spread by wildlife, humans, water, or other means. Most Garlic Mustard infestations can be removed by simply pulling the shallow rooted plant out of the ground and placing it in trash bags for disposal.

We invite volunteers of all ages to participate in this project. Our ultimate goal is to map infested areas and get volunteers to adopt specific roads or areas. It will be a multi-year effort until existing seed is no longer viable.

Please help us to establish invasive plant awareness throughout the Town. Tell your friends and neighbors about this project!

With your HELP, we can defeat this menace.

For more information on Garlic Mustard, check out these Youtube videos:

Thank you for your assistance!

Donate Now: Ensure the Smith Land is always open

LCT and SVT are working together to save the Edith and Paul Smith property

(excerpted from story in LCT’s Fall 2018 Newsletter)

Why is this land a high priority for acquisition?

Edith and Paul Smith amassed some 60 acres of magnificent land between Beaver Brook and Black Pond straddling Whitcomb Avenue. It includes scenic historic farm fields with barn, extensive granite stone works, wooded wetlands, marshland habitat along Beaver Brook, woodlands, healthy vernal pools, rich biodiversity, and a rugged ridgeline overlooking Black Pond.

The Smith’s accumulated extensive farm land and woodlands and gifted conservation restriction easements to the LCT. While protected from development, the land is not currently protected from private ownership — it could become a large private estate.

With the passing of Edith and Paul and the three adult children living on the West Coast, it is time to acquire, permanently protect, and professionally manage this treasured landscape through collaborative efforts.

Why is this landscape significant?

The Beaver Brook wooded marshland provides habitat for threatened species including turtles and salamanders and protects and replenishes the downstream Whitcomb Drinking Water Wells. It is situated in the midst of a mosaic of adjacent protected conservation lands – Harvard Conservation Commission land to the west, Littleton Conservation Commission land to the north, and Littleton Conservation Trust lands to the south and east. The Smith land allows roaming corridors for black bear, bobcat, deer, fox, coyote, deer, fisher, and turkey as well as through-hiking on interconnected trails.

The land will provide passive recreation for snowshoeing, cross- country skiing, wildlife-watching, and quiet outdoor enjoyment. Additionally there is potential to return the southwesterly grazing lands back to small lot farming overlooking the scenic Beaver Brook marshland.

Why so Little Cost for so Much Public Benefit?

The antique homestead and aging barn have been sold off thereby eliminating building maintenance costs. The remaining conservation land is being sold for public benefit at a significant discount. The Harvard Conservation Commission will buy the 13 acres in Harvard, leaving 47 Littleton acres, nestled in the midst of adjacent and protected public access conservation lands, still to be purchased. SVT is hard at work raising $150,000 from grants and foundations, leaving just $35,000 (about $745 per acre) to be raised by individuals through crowdfunding contributions, spanning both small and large donations. LCT and SVT are collaborating and encouraging contributions from all. Contributions for SVT’s purchase can be made either directly to LCT (with memo for Smith Property) or to SVT through its online crowdfunding application:

SVT will acquire the Smith Property, make public access accommodations, and professionally manage the natural resources as the new conservation land owner. LCT will continue as Conservation Restriction/Easement holder for the full 60 acre Smith Property, even as the land ownership changes, and will collabo-rate with SVT in the property’s conservation management.

Who is SVT and How is SVT Helping Littleton?

SVT’s name is confusing since it has evolved into a staffed, regional land trust serving all 34 towns within the SuAsCo Watershed. The eastern portion of Littleton lies within the Assabet River drainage area so all of Littleton is served by SVT. LCT has invited SVT to acquire the Smith Property as the conservation owner and to work together with LCT as the Conservation Restriction/Easement (CR) holder, given SVT’s successful track record. SVT wrote the $500,000 grant for Littleton to purchase the George and Lucy Yapp Conservation Property and now serves as that property’s CR holder. Additionally, SVT exercising a Right of First Refusal (ROFR), secured the Herget CR easement for public access from Foster Street to the Town Forest. SVT has collaborated with many surrounding communities in raising funds for acquiring farmland and conservation lands.

You can help keep this land open and protected

Provide Your Input: Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

The National Park Service requires the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to complete a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan every five years to remain eligible for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program. Since the program was established in 1965, nearly $100,000,000 has been awarded to every county in the state for the acquisition of conservation or park land, development of new parks, or renovation of existing parks.

It is critical for the statewide LWCF coordinator to hear back from as many people as possible regarding conservation and recreation use and demand at our properties to guide how future LWCF funding could be spent most effectively in Massachusetts. Littleton has benefitted from LWCF funding in the past.

There is a survey for land trusts which we’ll be filling out and another for any and all users of open space in Massachusetts. It should take less than 15 minutes to complete the survey. Add your voice here or click the button above.