Hunting limitations approved in Quenomica Preserve management plan 

Hunting allowed on a limited basis on parts of the property. 

An amended draft management plan for Quenomica Preserve was approved on Tuesday. — Courtesy MV Land Bank

The Edgartown Land Bank advisory board unanimously approved an amended Quenomica Preserve draft management plan during a Tuesday afternoon meeting. 

The board heeded some of the concerns brought by nearby homeowners, and are placing some limitations on hunting.

The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission will have to approve the amendments before the plan goes out to state and local regulatory boards for approval.

The property’s plans were presented during a public hearing last week when abutters expressed a number of grievances; many feared for their safety with hunting. The board delayed making a decision until Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank staff could recommend potential amendments. 

Land Bank ecologist Julie Russell recommended several changes, including reducing hunting allowed on the property, compared with what was previously planned. The changes included removing a permanent duck blind, allowing only one permitted archery hunter per week during the deer season, and monitoring hunting with an onsite caretaker and Land Bank staff. 

The amended plan also limits horseback riding to only the Quenomica North part of the property, and sets out additional habitat management measures on the preserve. 

Signs will also be added designating where public land ends, to help ease concerns about hunting. 

“I think you addressed a lot of the issues,” Steve Ewing, Edgartown representative on the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission, said to staff members. 

But Ewing proposed several revisions to the amended document during Tuesday’s meeting. He proposed eliminating the mention of duck hunting below the “mean high-water mark,” which would be below Wilson’s Landing at Meshacket Cove. 

“This is in the effort to start off with decent relationships with the neighbors and the abutters to the property,” Ewing said, adding that duck hunting would be allowed in the public tidal zones, similar to other properties, although it would not be addressed in the management plan. 

Another was removing an exception for hunting and fishing during the preserve’s operating hours of dawn to dusk. 

The board unanimously approved the management plan with the amendments from staff and Ewing. 

The plan is scheduled to be revisited a year after the preserve is opened to the public, at which time further changes can be made. 

“I think we’re doing our due diligence here by mentioning that and recognizing that,” Ewing said. “Hopefully, a lot of the fears of the neighborhood are not well-founded, and I hope it’s a good relationship.” 

It may take some time for Quenomica Preserve to open. According to Russell, the plan will be sent to the state’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs for the secretary’s approval, if given the green light by the commission. 

“By now, we have three plans pending approval that have been there for over a year, some of them,” she said. “Things are slowed down, for whatever reason, and we have a new secretary. So it could potentially be [another] year before we get approval for this. Once we do have approval from the secretary, we have to file with the conservation commission of the town of Edgartown and Natural Heritage. That could take anywhere from a month to two months.”