2012

driftwood at cedar tree neck

The place names are familiar and unchanging: Wasque, Cape Pogue and Long Point, Herring Creek Farm, Cedar Tree Neck and Fulling Mill Brook, Waskosim’s Rock and Pecoy Point, to name a few.

But the people who admire, use and could potentially contribute to the thousands of acres of land in conservation on the Vineyard have changed, and Island conservation leaders say this is what frames their biggest challenge today.

2011

Japanese stiltgrass has recently been discovered in the Longview neighborhood of West Tisbury, and the Nature Conservancy needs Islanders’ help in keeping this invasive species under control.

The harmful grass, which was introduced to the U.S. from Asia as a natural packaging material at the beginning of the 19th century, can crowd out native wildflowers, grasses and tree seedlings.

State foresters and Nature Conservancy fire ecology experts will draft a fire management plan for Manuel Correllus State Forest on Martha’s Vineyard, to guide ongoing fire work, thanks to recent funding from the U.S. Forest Service.

The $374,000 also will cover the partnership to restore 925 acres in Massachusetts with prescribed fire over the next year, to manage ecosystems and improve public safety.

2007

Ever since cultivation began on the Vineyard, farmers have tried to enrich the nutrient-poor soils of the Island's sandplain grassland. Now scientists are beginning a five-year experiment on the Island trying to achieve the exact opposite.

At a cost of some $700,000, The Nature Conservancy and Marine Biological Laboratory will try various ways of de-enriching the soil on 70 acres of sandplain at Katama, with an eye toward reestablishing the grassland ecosystem which formerly existed there.

The dire forecast for the future of the Vineyard environment, signed onto by the Island's major conservation groups 10 years ago this week, was wrong. Dramatically, happily wrong.

Among other things, the 1997 white paper predicted the Vineyard would be built out within eight years, and that only a little over 25 per cent of Island land would be protected by 2005. History has proven these figures to be way off the mark.

2005

An investigation by the Committee on Finance for the United States Senate has thrust The Nature Conservancy and its conservation buyer program under a spotlight, and along with it the record $64 million sale of the Herring Creek Farm in Edgartown.

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